“This is MAGA country!”: Actor Jussie Smollett hospitalized after anti-gay, anti-Black attack in Chicago
According to NBC News, Empire star Jussie Smollett was attacked in Chicago by two white men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs and wrapped a noose around his neck. Allegedly, they also yelled out “This is MAGA country!” as they were attacking him.
Smollett, 36, is an openly gay actor and he had recently landed in Chicago from New York City. He told police he was out at about 2 a.m. trying to find something to eat on East North Lower Walter Street, which is in an upscale neighborhood called Streeterville.
According to a statement about the incident by the Chicago Police Department, “unknown offenders approached (Smollett) 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.” The unknown chemical in the report is believed to be bleach, according to a source close to the investigation.
In a recording obtained by Broadcastify, an emergency services feed aggregator, a dispatcher relays a call received by Smollett’s friend saying, “He’s supposed to be well-known, requesting a report and said a noose was placed over the friend’s neck.”
Smollett was able to drive himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital to be treated. Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesperson for the Chicago police, told NBC News, “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.”
Twentieth Century Fox, which broadcasts the show Empire, issued a statement in support of Smollett reading, “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.”