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Empire’s Jussie Smollett victim of suspected racial and homophobic attack

Ella Braidwood January 29, 2019
Jussie Smollett

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 06: Jussie Smollett speaks at the Children's Defense Fund California's 28th Annual Beat The Odds Awards at Skirball Cultural Center on December 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)

Empire star Jussie Smollett has been hospitalised in a suspected “racially-charged assault” in Chicago, during which he was subjected to homophobic slurs and had a chemical substance poured on him.

The 36-year-old actor, who came out as gay on The Ellen Degeneres Show in 2015, was attacked at approximately 2am in E. North Lower Water Street on Tuesday (January 29).

Detectives are treating the assault as a potential hate crime.

A Chicago Police Department spokesperson told PinkNews: “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.

Empire actor Jussie Smollett attacked in “racially-charged” assault overnight

“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime.”

PinkNews understands Smollett was walking along when two people started shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him.

“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime.”

—Chicago Police Department spokesperson

The two assailants then punched the actor in the face, wrapped a rope around his neck, and poured a chemical substance on him.

The assault was first reported by entertainment website ThatGrapeJuice. 

Rope is wrapped around Jussie Smollett’s neck and he is subjected to homophobic slurs

The Chicago Police Department spokesperson added: “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.”

Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett attends The Trevor Project’s 2018 TrevorLIVE Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 2, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)

Smollett is currently in a good condition at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago.

The actor is known for his portrayal of gay musician Jamal Lyon in the Fox drama series Empire. The character’s sexuality was in part inspired by the show’s creator, Lee Daniels.

Smollett began his career as a child actor, starring in The Mighty Ducks (1992) and North (1994).

Smollett has been outspoken about his character on Empire. 

In November, he said he rejected a proposal from producers for Lyon to get a white boyfriend.

In an interview on SiriusXM’s The Clay Cane Show , the actor said:There was talk about Jamal having a white boyfriend and I said, ‘F**k no!’”

Smollett added: “Not for any reason except we have a responsibility and we have a such a beautiful opportunity to show two black men in a relationship together, in a healthy relationship.”

More: Empire, Jussie Smollet, US

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