Jussie Smollett, who plays the character Jamal Lyon on the hit series Empire, is reportedly the victim of a horrific hate crime. The allegations are brutal and Chicago police have issued an update as they search for two suspects accused of a violent attack against the 35-year-old singer, actor, and producer. According to the latest reports by That Grape Juice.net, Smollet first received horrifying threats via mail approximately one week ago. Then, on Tuesday morning, reports surfaced saying Smollett was beaten, had bleach poured on him, and had a noose wrapped around his neck. Recent allegations say the attackers shouted the words “MAGA Country” during the attack.
The envelope reportedly sent to Chicago’s Fox studio, appeared to have the word MAGA listed in the upper left corner where the return address goes, then showed a monster or some sort of figure apparently putting a noose around another figure’s neck.
You may see photos of the envelope and letter that used cut out letters to spell out the phrase, “You will die black f#g.” in the link below. The lettering appears to be that of a child’s but if you notice in the last name “Smollett” you will see that one L turns to the right while the other turns to the left. The two-letter ‘T’s” at the end of Smollett appear to be backward sevens. It is believed the envelope and letter are undergoing forensic testing.
The letters could indicate the attack was premeditated and is an example of both a racially motivated and homophobic attack.
— deray (@deray) January 29, 2019
TMZ has reported on the crime and revealed a photo of Smollett captured when Jussie video chatted with Empire’s creator Lee Daniels. According to TMZ, Jussie still had the noose around his neck when he transported himself to the hospital. There is no information regarding how tight the noose was or how it was removed once he made it to help. The photo TMZ shared revealed a long gash on Smollett’s face, but his neck wasn’t visible.
It was unclear whether there were ligature markings on his neck. According to the reporting, police confirmed that Smollett revealed the shouts of “MAGA Country” took place during a follow-up interview.
UPDATE: Chicago PD now confirms Jussie told them about the attackers yelling, "This is MAGA country." https://t.co/rYU06TekTm
— TMZ (@TMZ) January 30, 2019
It is unclear why Jussie Smollett was targeted in the attack, but he does portray an openly gay character on Empire and lives his personal life as an openly gay man.
Fox released a statement about the attack and announced they are ordering additional security for the cast.
“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.”
You may read a statement from the Chicago Police Department below.
Wow… Absolutely horrific details in this Chicago Police Dept Statement on incident reportedly involving actor Jussie Smollett pic.twitter.com/E4iTWfDule
— Michael Del Moro (@MikeDelMoro) January 29, 2019
The violent attack on Jussie Smollett as sent shockwaves throughout the nation. At this point, Jussie Smollett hasn’t spoken publicly about the attack nor has he released a statement on the attack.