Jussie Smollett was brutally attacked in a possible hate crime in Chicago on Tuesday, January 29, which left him hospitalized, according to a new report. Here’s everything we know about the incident.
UPDATE (3/26/19), 11:35 AM EST: The charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett — over allegedly staging a racial attack against himself in Chicago on January 29 — have all been dropped, his Chicago-based attorney Ronald Safer confirms to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television issued the following statement (on March 26, 2019 at 1:15 PM EST) in wake of this development: “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
UPDATE: On Jan. 30 the Chicago Police Department tweeted out “Hours ago
#ChicagoPolice detectives located a surveillance camera that shows potential persons of interest wanted for questioning in reference to the assault & battery of Empire actor. A community alert w/ photos is being constructed and will be disseminated shortly.” We will keep you undated on the breaking developments.
ORIGINAL: Jussie Smollett, 35, was viciously attacked in Chicago in a possible hate crime, which TMZ reports he was hospitalized following the incident. The attack — allegedly by Donald Trump supporters, who yelled, “This is MAGA country.” — occured around 2 AM on Tuesday, January 29. The site claims (from another report by ThatGrapeJuice.Net) that two men wearing ski masks allegedly placed a noose around the Empire actor’s neck during the attack. The outlet (ThatGrapeJuice) also alleged that Smollett received an alarming letter, mailed to Fox Studios in Chicago, with cut out letters spelling, “You will die black f–k.”
Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon in the hit Fox drama, was admitted and treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He was released early Tuesday morning (January 29). The actor came out as gay in 2015 during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, where he said he hoped to help others feel less alone.
HollywoodLife received the following statement EXCLUSIVELY from The Chicago Police Department New Affairs: “Overnight, the Chicago Police Department received a report of a possible racially-charged assault and battery involving a cast member of the television show, ‘Empire’. Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime. Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline. The victim is fully cooperating with investigators and we ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382 or report it anonymously to http://www.cpdtip.com”.
The “incident background” reads:
300 block of E. Lower Water Street on January 29, 2019
“A 36 year old man was walking at above address when two unknown offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him. The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim.”
“At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck. The offenders fled the scene. The victim self-transported to Northwestern Hospital and is [in] good condition. Area detectives are investigating.”
HollywoodLife also received the following statement from 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment: “We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our EMPIRE family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night. We send our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice. The entire studio, network and production stands united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate — and especially against one of our own.”
This story is still developing… We will continue to update as details can be confirmed. HollywoodLife has reached out to a representative for Jussie Smollett and did not receive an immediate reply.
GLAAD, which promotes acceptance for LGBTQ people, released the following statement. “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.”