Empire actor, Jussie Smollett has been hospitalised after he was attacked today in what seemed like a racist and homophobic event.
Smollett, who stars as middle son Jamal Lyon on Fox’s Empire, is in good condition at a Chicago hospital.
Smollett was reportedly exiting a Subway restaurant when he was approached by two white men yelling racial and homophobic slurs who began battering Smollett and poured bleach on him. They then wrapped a noose around his neck before fleeing the scene. Smollett then took himself to the hospital.
In a statement, the Chicago Police Department says, “Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime.”
Smollett is openly gay and once told Ellen DeGeneres that, “There is no closet, there’s never been a closet that I’ve been in.”
GLAAD has released a statement saying it has reached out to Fox and Smollett’s team offering assistance, calling him “a true champion for LGBTQ people [who] is beloved by the community and allies around the world.”
TMZ believes that Smollett was, indeed, specifically targeted by his attackers. The site says that the men were wearing ski masks, not MAGA hats, but that they said, “aren’t you that f***** Empire n*****?,” as they approached Smollett, and reportedly yelled, “this is MAGA country!,” as they fled the scene.
Smollett has reportedly also been the target of hate mail sent to Fox Studios in Chicago, some containing death threats, for at least the past week.
Smollett was discharged from the hospital earlier today.
We hope he is alright.
By Oluwatoyin Adeleye