“Empire” star Jussie Smollett has been hospitalized early Tuesday morning in Chicago after an assault by two men, Variety reports. Chicago Police are investigating the attack as a potential hate crime.
According to a statement released by the Chicago Police Department, Smollett was approached by two “unknown offenders, who “yelled racial and homophobic” slurs at the actor. The attackers then began to “batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.” Later, one of the assailants “wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck.”
Smollett is currently at Northwestern Hospital having checked himself in and is reportedly in good condition.
GLAAD, the world’s leading LGBTQ media organization, released a statement on the incident, saying, “GLAAD 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.”
Smollett was in Chicago for a concert at the Troubador Hotel, in which he was set to perform.
Smollett came out as gay during a televised interview with Ellen DeGeneres in March 2015. “There is without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear,” Smollett told DeGeneres at the time. “I’ve told Ellen, now who else do I need to tell?”
Smollett is best known for his groundbreaking role as Jamal Lyon in Fox’s music industry family drama “Empire,” created by Lee Daniels and in which he stars opposite Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard. The character is a gay singer and songwriter, who faces challenges from his family for coming out of the closet. He began his career as a child actor, starring in “The Mighty Ducks” and Rob Reiner’s “North.” He is the brother of actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell.