CHICAGO - Chicago police have opened a hate crime investigation after a cast member of the television show "Empire" alleged he was attacked by men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him and physically attacked him.
"Empire" star Jussie Smollett was brutally attacked by two men who beat him up, put his head in a noose and screamed, "This is MAGA country," TMZ is reporting.
Smollett was walking about 2 a.m. Tuesday in the 300 block of East North Lower Water Street when two people walked up and “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs,” police said. They then hit him in the face and “poured an unknown chemical substance on him.”
One of the attackers also put a rope around his neck before they ran away, police said.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says the "Empire" star is being treated at the hospital and is in good condition.
Police say detectives are gathering security video from nearby businesses.
Guglielmi released this statement about the attack: "Overnight, the Chicago Police Department received a report of a possible racially-charged assault and battery involving a cast member of the television show Empire. Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime. Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline. The victim is fully cooperating with investigators and we ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382 or report it anonymously to www.cpdtip.com"
ThatGrapeJuice.Net first posted this letter which was sent to Fox Studios in Chicago with cut out letters spelling, "You will die black f**." TMZ's sources say the letter was sent eight days ago.
20th Century Fox released a statement about the attack:
“We send our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice,” studio officials wrote in the statement. “The entire studio, network and production stands united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate — and especially against one of our own.”
The Associated Press, TMZ, and Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.