Empire actor Jussie Smollett was hospitalized after a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago, TMZ reports. The 36-year-old star, who portrays Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox show, was reportedly "brutally attacked by [two] men who beat him up, put his head in a noose and screamed, 'This is MAGA country,' according to TMZ.
Smollett took himself to Northwestern Hospital after the attack and is in good condition, according to police.
The horrifying details of the attack include the two assailants using both racist and homophobic language directed at Smollett as they apparently approached him outside a Subway restaurant late Monday night (January 28). Chicago police released more information on Tuesday, as tweeted out by HuffPost's Philip Lewis.
The police report said the two attackers beat Smollett in the face, poured "an unknown chemical substance" on him, and put a noose around his neck before fleeing the scene. TMZ reports that both were white and wore ski masks during the attack. ThatGrapeJuice.Net reports Smollett had recently received threatening racist and homophobic hate mail as well.
"Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime," the police statement reads.
"Jussie is a true champion for LGBTQ people and is beloved by the community and allies around the world," GLAAD said in a statement. "According to the Anti-Violence Project, the severity of hate violence against LGBTQ people is increasing. Forty-six percent of LGBTQ survivors of hate violence sustained an injury in 2017 compared to 31 percent in 2016, 42 percent reported seeking medical attention in 2017 compared to 23 percent in 2016, and 27 percent reported that weapons were used in 2017 compared to 13 percent in 2016."
We can all take action to stop racism and homophobia. To learn more about issues affecting the LGBTQ community, head to lgbt.mtv.com