Empire star Jussie Smollett has been hospitalised following an alleged homophobic and racially motivated attack in Chicago yesterday (January 29).
A statement released by the Chicago Police Department said that they received reports of a “possible racially-charged assault and battery involving a cast member of the television show ‘Empire’.
Chicago Police Department just sent out this statement re:
Jussie Smollett pic.twitter.com/DxQswZn8xd
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 29, 2019
The statement continued: “Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime.”
Describing the incident, the Chicago Police Department added: “A 36-year-old man was walking…when two unknown offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him.
“The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim. At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck. The offenders fled the scene.
“The victim self-transported to Northwestern Hospital and is [in] good condition. Area centra detectives are investigating.”
Smollett was in Chicago ahead of a concert where he is due to perform on Saturday. On Monday evening, the actor and singer posted in Instagram, saying that he had arrived in the city “after spending 7 hours on a plane for a 2 hour flight.”
LGBTQ campaigners GLADD released a statement following the incident, offering help. They said: “GLADD reached out to Fox and Jussie’s team today to offer assistance as well as support for him. Jussie is a true champion for LGBTQ people and is beloved by the community and allies around the world.”
Celebrities have shared their support for Smollett in the aftermath.
Kevin Hart has sent him “prayers”, writing in a tweet: “Sending prayers your way
@jussiesmollett ….This is unbelievably sad. Why are we going backwards….this is disgusting. We as people have to do better. WTF is going on the world???? Why…”
Sending prayers your way @jussiesmollett ….This is unbelievably sad. Why are we going backwards….this is disgusting. We as people have to do better. WTF is going on the world???? Why… https://t.co/G6vCnKPEhf
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) January 30, 2019
Emma Watson also shared her support. She wrote on Twitter that she was “disgusted” by the “ugly prejudice and bigotry behind this violence”.
Disgusted by the ugly prejudice and bigotry behind this violence. Sending love to @JussieSmollett & to anyone that has been hurt by the hatred of those who fear difference. As a society, we continue to fail LGBTQIA+ communities and PoC. pic.twitter.com/FFRPIbhOip
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) January 30, 2019
The Chicago Police Department have asked that anyone with information about the incident should contact 312-747-8382 or report it anonymously to www.cpdtip.com.