FBI investigate hate mail sent to Jussie Smollett days before assault
The FBI are searching for the people responsible for sending Empire star Jussie Smollett hate mail days before he was assaulted in a suspected homophobic and racist attack in Chicago.
According to TMZ, the FBI is working with the Empire crew to hunt down the person or people behind a threatening letter sent to Smollett in the days leading up to his assault.
Sources told TMZ that Empire hired a private security company to set up a system of screening all mail received by the cast with the FBI.
FBI screen all mail sent to Jussie Smollett and Empire set
One hateful letter sent to Smollett calls him a “black fag,” reports TMZ.
Smollett and other members of the Empire cast have reportedly been sent hate mail previously.
However, security are on high alert following Smollett’s assault.
Smollett was hospitalised in a suspected “racially-charged assault” in Chicago on January 29, 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.
Smollett has since been discharged from hospital and returned to the Empire set a couple of days ago.
Police treating Jussie Smollett attack as a hate crime
Detectives are treating the assault as a potential hate crime.
Following the attack, the cast of Empire took to social media to show their support for Smollett.
“In terms of what happened the other day to Jussie… this is what happens.”
Other celebrities, including Ellen Page, also spoke out in solidarity with Smollett.
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On a recent episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Page condemned US Vice President Mike Pence’s anti-LGBT+ views before telling the studio audience to “connect the dots.”
She said: “In terms of what happened the other day to Jussie… this is what happens.”
“If you are in a position of power and you hate people, and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering—what do you think is going to happen?” asked the Gaycation star.
“Kids are going to be abused, and they’re going to kill themselves, and people are going to be beaten on the street.”