WRITTEN BY: Chad Gelfand
Actor and star of the Fox hit TV show “Empire” was leaving a Chicago restaurant in the early morning hours Tuesday Morning when he was attacked by two masked men in what Chicago Police are investigating as a hate crime.
According to police reports, Smollet was exiting the restaurant when two men approached him yelling racial and homophobic slurs. “The alleged assailants made racially charged comments to the victim implying that they knew he was a star from the show,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Smollett was then attacked by the two men who allegedly screamed “This is MAGA Country” before pouring an unknown substance on him and tying a noose around his neck. Smollet came away from the attack with fractured ribs and a scratched face.
According to the Chicago Tribune a week before the attack “A letter containing white powder and making racial and homophobic threats was mailed to the actor at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, where “Empire” is filmed, according to police. The letter triggered a hazardous materials call, but fire crews determined the powder was not dangerous.”
Smollet made his first public comments about the attack to essence.com where he described himself as “ok,” and the actor also stated “My body is strong, but my soul is stronger. More importantly, I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words.”