According to a statement made by the Chicago Police Department, Jussie Smollett, co-star of the hit series “Empire”, was indeed beaten and hospitalized for the resulting injuries he sustained.
The police report detailed the events that took place regarding the attack. Allegedly two white men wearing ski masks approached Smollett, at approximately 2 am early Tuesday morning, yelling what reports state was “racial and homophobic slurs.”
The attack itself occurred in the 300 block of E. North Water Street, where the two individuals proceeded to beat Smollett and pour a yet unidentified chemical substance on him.
The altercation is said to have ended with the two assailants placing a rope around Smollett’s neck, before fleeing on foot screaming “This is MAGA country”. It was then that Smollett was able to transport himself to Northwest Memorial Hospital in order the seek treatment. Smollett was released early Tuesday morning, and as of this writing the actor is said to be in “good condition
The 36-year-old Smollett, who is a cast member of the tv series “Empire”, was in Chicago as that is where the tv show is filmed. Producers for the series stated that from here on out while filming in the windy city, all cast members will have additional armed security.
The vicious attack follows closely on the heels of a threatening letter that FOX Studios in Chicago received, addressed to Smollett personally. On the upper left-hand corner of the envelope are the letters MAGA written in red. The note contained inside was comprised of letters cut from magazines, and not only made a threat but also contained a homophobic slur.
The Chicago police are officially considering this a hate crime, and are canvassing the area for anyone who may have been witness to the attack, as well as any buildings in the vicinity that may provide video surveillance that could help apprehend the attackers.
Chicago law enforcement officials also released a statement:
“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 or report it anonymously to www.cpdtip.com.”
In 2015, Smollett appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show, and at that time came out as gay. This was about the same time his character on “Empire” was also revealed to be gay.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Was this indeed a hate crime? Was it race-based? Was it based in homophobia?