Los Angeles: ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett was attacked Tuesday morning while leaving a restaurant in what Chicago police are calling a possible hate crime.
The 36-year-old actor was exiting a restaurant in Chicago when two men started shouting racial and homophobic slurs towards him before attacking Smollett, according to ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ (THR).
They punched him, poured an unknown chemical substance over him and one of the suspects even wrapped a rope around the actor’s neck.
“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime,” police was quoted as saying by ‘THR’. The police informed the suspects were two males in black clothing. One of them was wearing a black mask.
Smollett, who was hospitalised for his injuries, told the police that the attackers yelled pro- ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA) comments during the attack.
On the show, Smollett plays musician Jamal Lyon, the son of Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Cookie (Taraji P Henson). The character is gay so is the actor in real life.
The show’s team has expressed shock and anger over the attack on Smollett. ‘Empire’ co-creator Lee Daniels said the actor did not deserve what happened to him.