Empire’s Jussie Smollett was attacked early Tuesday morning in an apparent racial and homophobic hate crime, according to Chicago police. The 36-year-old actor and singer, who is black and openly gay, was walking in downtown Chicago around 2 a.m. when he was attacked by two men, who allegedly shouted at him, threw an unknown substance at his face, and wrapped a rope around his neck. The attackers fled before inflicting serious harm, and Smollett was able to walk to the nearby Northwestern hospital for treatment.

In a statement, the Chicago PD said they were “treating [the attack] as a possible hate crime” and have asked for anyone with information on the attackers to come forward. As of Wednesday morning, police still did not have enough information to put out a description of the attackers, who were reportedly wearing masks at the time of the attack. The attackers also supposedly yelled that Smollett was in “MAGA country” during the attack, alluding to President Donald Trump‘s campaign slogan.

After hearing the news, a number of stars showed their support for Smollett on social media. In an emotional video, Empire’s co-creator Lee Daniels called Smollett his “son” and told him to “hold your head up.”


Fellow actors Chadwick Boseman and Matt Bomer also tweeted their support, with Bomer reassuring Smollett that his attackers “will be brought to justice.”



Smollett first came out in 2015 on an episode of Ellen DeGeneres talk show after his Empire character did the same. Upon hearing the news of his attack, DeGeneres tweeted, “Four years ago, @JussieSmollett came out on my show. I’m sending him and his family so much love today.”

As of Wednesday, reports say that Smollett is doing well. The Chicago PD continues to investigate the alleged attack.


Leave a comment

Subscribe to the uInterview newsletter

Read more about: