‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett says he was victim in homophobic attack; Chicago PD starts hate crime investigation

Jussie Smollett speaks at the Children's Defense Fund California's 28th Annual Beat The Odds Awards at Skirball Cultural Center on December 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — Investigators in Chicago are looking into a star actor’s claims that two men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him and attacked him. TMZ reports that “Empire” star Jussie Smollett says he was attacked by two men in ski masks while walking around downtown Chicago on Tuesday at about 2 a.m.

WGN received this statement from police:

“Overnight, the Chicago Police Department received a report of a possible racially-charged assault and battery involving a cast member of the television show Empire. Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very¬†seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime. Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline. The victim is fully cooperating with investigators and we ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382.”

TMZ says someone screamed¬†“Aren’t you that f***ot ‘Empire’ n*****?” at Smollett, and “this is MAGA country” after the attack. Police say during the incident the men poured an unknown chemical on Smollett and wrapped a rope around his neck.

Smollett went to a hospital where he was treated and listed in “good” condition. This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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