Chicago police have opened a hate-crime investigation after openly gay actor Jussie Smollettfrom the television show Empirealleged he was attacked by men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him and physically attacked him, according to a Fox32Chicago.com item that cited TMZ.
Smollett was allegedly brutally attacked by two men who beat him up, put his head in a noose and screamed, "This is MAGA country." ("MAGA" stands for Presdient Trump's motto "Make America Great Again.")
The two menboth white and wearing ski masksattacked Smollett as he fought back, but they beat him badly and fractured a rib. They reportedly put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him yelled the MAGA statement.
Smollett was at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, but was released later that same day (Jan. 29)..
"GLAAD reached out to FOX and Jussie's team today to offer assistance as well as support for him," the organization said in a statement, as reported by Deadline. "Jussie is a true champion for LGBTQ people and is beloved by the community and allies around the world."
Hollywood immediately expressed its support for Smollett. People.com reported that Empire Executive Producer Danny Strong tweeted, in part, "I'm deeply horrified and saddened by the racist and homophobic attacks against @JussieSmollett. He is a kind and profoundly talented soul whom I respect with all my heart."
Actress/talk-show host Vivica A. Fox posted, "I'm just now hearing the news about the senseless hate attack on my #EMPiRE Nephew @JussieSmollett IM SO ANGRY AND HURT ABOUT THIS! THIS MUST STOP!! SPREAD LOVE NOT HATE! PRAYERS UP TO U NEPHEW!"
UPDATE: Chicago police say they have located video that shows "potential persons of interest" wanted for questioning in reference to the assault and battery of Smollett, according to CBS 2 Chicago.
The video does not show an assault; however, authorities said the people are "seen in the vicinity of the alleged criminal incident during the alleged time of occurrence."
The Fox32Chicago item is at www.fox32chicago.com . The People.com article is at https://people.com/tv/stars-support-jussie-smollett-apparent-hate-crime/.
The CBS 2 Chicago article is at chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/01/30/video-shows-persons-of-interest-in-possible-hate-crime-against-empire-actor-jussie-smollett-in-chicago/.