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Chicago police are treating brutal attack on “Empire” star Jussie Smollett as possible hate crime

Smollett's attackers yelled homophobic slurs and poured a chemical substance over him.

by Tess Owen
Jan 29 2019, 5:51pm

The star of the TV show “Empire” was hospitalized after he was brutally beaten by two men on the streets of Chicago who poured a chemical substance over him and shouted homophobic and racial slurs.

Jussie Smollett, 36, had reportedly arrived in Chicago from New York City late Monday and ventured out to get something to eat, according to TMZ.

The Chicago Police Department said in a statement that two unknown men approached Smollett and got his attention by shouting racial and homophobic slurs.

“The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim,” Chicago Police said. “At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck.”

Smollett took himself to Northwestern Hospital and is reportedly in good condition.

Police say they’re treating the incident as a possible hate crime and are urging potential witnesses to come forward as they try to establish an investigative timeline.

Smollett has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, which in turn has attracted the attention of some of the president’s far-right supporters.

Two years ago, he released a track titled “F.U.W.” (acronym for “Fucked Up World”) and a music video, to coincide with President’s Day in 2017. The video featured imagery about racial justice, and showed a man in a wheelchair rolling over a Trump mask, in an apparent comment on the president mocking a disabled reporter during the 2016 campaign.

Cover: Jussie Smollett attends SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations: 'Empire' at The Robin Williams Center on November 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)