Musician and Empire actor Jussie Smollett is recovering in a Chicago hospital after falling victim to a hate crime.
According to That Grape Juice, Smollett received a “chilling threat” in the mail prior to the attack. The sender cut out letters from a magazine, spelling out, “You will die Black f*g,” alongside a drawing of a stick figure hanging from a tree with a gun its face. The envelope appears to say “MAGA” (Make America Great Again) in the upper left corner, though it is not entirely clear.
The 35-year-old, who lives in Chicago while filming Empire, was reportedly attacked at 2 a.m. by two men in ski masks, hitting him in the face several times. A statement from the Chicago PD says the attackers also poured an unknown chemical substance on him before one of them tied a noose around his neck. The two perpetrators called Smollett racial and homophobic slurs before physically attacking him. Read Chicago PD’s statement on the case below.
After the incident, Smollett walked to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he is currently receiving treatment. Chicago police have reportedly launched an investigation.
Smollett recently shared his commitment to helping HBCU Bennett College raise the necessary funds to keep its doors open.
“In the 1930s we had 121 #HBCUs now we’re at 101,” Jussie wrote. “Don’t let us be down to 100 if #BennettCollege, who has made the education of black women a priority since 1926, closes its doors. The legacy must continue. Click/share @bennettcollege & Donate today #standwithbennett love&respect.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.