Chicago Police Department confirmed that there is an open investigation into the attack.
“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,” chief spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.
The statement continued: “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 www.cpdtip.com.”
According to the police department, a 36-year-old male was allegedly approached by two unknown offenders who “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him.”
According to the report, the offenders “battered” Smollett with their hands “about the face” before allegedly pouring “an unknown chemical substance on the victim.”
The report also notes that during the attack, “one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck.”
According to police, the offenders fled the scene, and the victim was self-transported to Northwestern Hospital.
The statement adds that the victim was transported to Northwestern Hospital and is in “good condition.”
20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment released a statement about the attack.
“We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our EMPIRE family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night. We send out love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice,” the statement read.
It continued: “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.”
U.S. Senator Cory Booker called the attack “an attempted modern-day lynching.”
“The vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching. I’m glad he’s safe,” Booker tweeted. “To those in Congress who don’t feel the urgency to pass our Anti-Lynching bill designating lynching as a federal hate crime– I urge you to pay attention.”
Once news spread of the incident spread, many took to social media to send the actor motivating words.
Smollett first spoke publicly about being gay on The Ellen DeGenres Show in 2015.
“There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in,” he said.
He went on to say that he decided not to talk about his personal life too much but it is not an attempt to “hide or deny who God made me. There is, without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in,” he said. “And I just wanted to make that clear.”