'Empire' star Jussie Smollett beaten in racist, homophobic attack

January 29, 2019 - 12:36 pm
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CHICAGO (1010 WINS) -- Jussie Smollett, a star of the AMC series "Empire," was brutally beaten, had a chemical poured on his face and a noose tied around his neck in Chicago early Tuesday morning, during an attack that Chicago police said they are investigating as a hate crime. 

Smollett, who is openly gay, was walking down a Chicago street around 2 a.m. when two ski mask-wearing white men "approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs toward him," police said in a statement about the incident, which TMZ first reported. "The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim."

The statement continues, "At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim's neck."

According to TMZ, the attackers yelled "This is MAGA country," as they left.

According to Reason, the Chicago Police Department released a statement denying claims of MAGA involvement.

“According to the victim, the offenders’ faces were concealed,” a police spokesperson told Reason. “We have no record indicating that [they shouted ‘MAGA’], we only have record of them shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him.”

“We have no record of The MAGA Country comment,” added the police spokesperson. “We have racial and homophobic comments documented.”

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The attackers then fled, and Smollett took himself to Northwesterm Hospital and is in "good condition," police said.

1010 WINS has reached out to Smollett's rep for comment. 

Chicago police said the incident is a "possible racially-charged assault and battery ... Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking the investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime."

The CPD said detectives are gathering video, identifying possible witnesses and establishing a timeline.

Smollett, 35, confirmed that he is gay in a 2015 interview with Ellen Degeneres. He said he came out because hr wanted to help other LGBT people feel less alone.