Chicago police probe 'possible hate crime' against 'Empire' star Jussie Smollett
© Getty Images

The Chicago Police Department says it’s investigating an attack against Jussie Smollett as a “possible hate crime” after the “Empire” actor had a rope tied around his neck and an “unknown chemical substance” poured on him.

According to police, Smollett was walking in Chicago at 2 a.m. on Tuesday when strangers approached him and began screaming 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,” Chicago Police told ITK in a statement.

“At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victims neck,” before fleeing the scene, according to authorities.

TMZ reported Tuesday that the two suspects referenced President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE’s 2016 “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) campaign slogan during the alleged ambush, yelling, “This is MAGA country.”

"We can not confirm what the offenders stated," a Chicago Police Department spokesman told ITK when asked about any MAGA-related language in the attack.

Smollett transported himself to Northwestern Hospital and is listed in good condition. The 36-year-old actor is fully cooperating with investigators, and police — who call the case a “possible racially-charged assault and battery — are asking anyone with information to contact them.

A rep for Smollett didn’t respond to ITK’s request for comment.

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandBiden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Overnight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was 'unprovoked escalation' | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors Democrats urge controversial Pentagon policy nominee to withdraw MORE (D-N.Y.) condemned the attack on Twitter, calling it "the latest of too many hate crimes against LGBTQ people and people of color."

Smollett was one of several high-profile performers who appeared in a 2016 campaign ad for then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump vows challenge to Nevada bill expanding mail-in voting Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Juan Williams: The Trump Show grows tired MORE.

In a 2017 music video for his song “F.U.W.” that Smollett directed, a man in a wheelchair is shown rolling over a mask of Trump’s face.

—Updated at 1:54 p.m.