‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett Hospitalized Following Homophobic Attack

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Empire star Jussie Smollett is in the hospital this week, after having been attacked in Chicago on Tuesday morning. The actor was allegedly the victim of a hate crime.

According to a January 29 report by TMZ, Jussie Smollett — who plays the fan favorite character of Jamal Lyon on FOX’s hit musical drama, Empire –was taken to the hospital in the early hours of the morning after he was brutally attacked by two men.

Smollett was reportedly attacked by the men, who were apparently wearing ski masks at the time, at around 2 a.m. Reports claim that Jussie had a noose placed around his neck during the attack, and that he had received a disturbing letter that read, “You will die black f**.”

The Chicago police department are reportedly investigating the attack as a battery. However, many are already calling it a hate crime following reports of the racist and homophobic nature of the letter the actor had received.

Chicago police released a statement containing details pertinent to the attack, revealing that Jussie was walking when two men approached him and yelled out racial and homophobic slurs. They hit him in the face — and poured an “unknown chemical substance” on him — before wrapping the noose around his neck and fleeing the scene. The actor then transported himself to the hospital, and is said to be in “good condition.”

Smollett was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital following the incident, but has already been released with no serious injuries.

Jussie’s Empire character is a gay icon. Back in 2015, Smollett revealed to Ellen DeGeneres that he, like his character, was gay — and that he hoped by coming out that he would help others to feel less alone.

Last year, as World AIDS Day approached, Jussie Smollett — who sits on the board of the Black AIDS Institute — spoke out about the disease, and the role that it will play on Empire.

“We continually say we are a show that is rooted in pop culture but we would be frauds if we didn’t deal with actual things that are hitting our community every day. Pop culture is not just fights on reality television. It’s not just beefs. It’s real things happening,” Jussie stated, according to Forbes.

As many fans of the show already know, Jussie’s character, Jamal, is currently in a relationship with Kai, a man living with HIV. This has become a central plot of the series.

Smollett also recently donated all of the profit from his recent album, Sum of My Music — a sum which totaled over $125,000 — to multiple charities.