Empire Star, Jussie Smollett Hospitalized After Hate Crime Attack – Tha Wire
Today in Tha Wire, Chicago's Channel 9 News reported today (January 29, 2019) that Empire star, singer/actor Jussie Smollett, was brutally attacked by two men early this morning. According to TMZ the 36-year old actor had just arrived in the Windy City from New York late Monday. He stopped to a Subway in downtown Chicago to grab a bite to eat around 2 AM. As he reportedly walked out of the restaurant, someone yelled, "Aren't you that f***ot 'Empire' n*****?" Apparently the assailants were already outside, they heckled and followed him, and attacked him a short time afterward.
From the sounds of things the assault was not a random incident, there's a good chance Smollett was a direct target. TMZ reports 8-days ago a letter with cut-n-paste words arrived at Fox Studios in Chicago were the hit TV show is filmed and it had a threatening message for the actor. The envelope hate MAGA and Jussie's name scribbled in red marker on the front. According to reports it read, "You will die black f**." Authorities are allegedly looking for two white men, but they were wearing ski masks at the time of the vicious beating. Smollett fought back, but was ultimately overpowered by the two men who poured a bleach-like chemical on him and tied a noose around his neck yelling "This is MAGA Country."
The actor was able to call 911 for help and reportedly still had a rope around his neck when police arrived on the scene. Badly injured Smollett was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was treated for a fractured rib, several cuts and abrasions to his face and body, and released. Empire creator, director Lee Daniels, was horrified and sent this message to his friend via social media.
In an update TMZ reports at 4:00 PM PT Smollett was able to do a follow-up interview with Chicago PD where he confirmed the men were yelling, "MAGA country." In addition, the FBI has gotten involved and have began an investigation into the origin of the letter mailed to the FOX studios. In the meantime, Chicago police are hunting for the two unidentified men, and have classified the unprovoked attack a hate crime.
At last word, police were gathering video surveillance hoping to identify the assailants and take them into custody. Sources connected to the Empire production crew told TMZ from here on out all main cast members will have armed security while filming in Chicago going forward. We are sending our prayers and best wishes to Jussie Smollett. Get better soon brotha! We will keep you posted.
On a brighter note, Taraji P Henson had one of the best days of her life yesterday. Monday HipHollywood reports the superstar actress received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! On hand for her big moment, were her fiance' former NFL star, Kevin Hayden and longtime BFF Mary J Blige among others.