Chicago police are investigating a reports of a racist and homophobic assault on Empire star Jussie Smollett, who was allegedly beaten and placed in a noose on Tuesday morning.
Citing a police statement, The Chicago Tribune reports the television actor, 36, was approached by two people around 2am on Tuesday.
The pair reportedly grabbed Smollett’s attention by hurling racist and homophobic slurs before beating him, covering him in an unknown substance, and tying a noose around his neck.
The offenders fled the scene.
TMZ claims the offenders yelled “This is MAGA country” after the assault, but a police statement obtained by The Daily Beast states there’s no report of that particular language being used.
Smollett transported himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was said to be in a good condition. TMZ reports he was discharged later in the morning.
Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi says investigators are looking into the incident as a potential hate crime.
“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime.”
Empire co-creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong have responded to the reports, condemning the abuse perpetrated on the actor and praising his resilience.
A spokesperson from television network Fox, which has aired Empire since 2015, told The Chicago Tribune “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.”
Investigators are working to track down potential witnesses and secure potential video footage of the incident.