According to ABC News, the FBI has taken over the assault on Empire star Jussie Smollett after it was revealed that the actor had received a threatening letter prior to the crime.
Per a report from Entertainment Tonight, the cast and crew of Empire will be protected by armed security.
This post was originally published January 29 at 12:15 p.m.
Jussie Smollett, who stars on Empire as Jamal Lyon, was reportedly the victim of what now is being investigated as a possible hate crime early Tuesday morning, according to both People and a statement from the Chicago police department. The 36-year-old actor was reportedly leaving a Chicago Subway restaurant at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday when he was attacked outside by two white men wearing ski masks.
"Two unknown offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him," the statement from the Chicago police reads. "The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim. At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck. The offenders fled the scene."
The official CPD statement does not name Smollett as the victim, but says the incident involved "a cast member of the television show Empire." Refinery29 has reached out to the CPD for additional comment.
TMZ also reports that the assailants at one point screamed, "This is MAGA country." This has not been confirmed by the police.
According to the police statement, the victim transported himself to Northwestern Hospital and is in "good" condition. TMZ says he was discharged later Tuesday morning, but a rep for Smollett did not immediately return Refinery29's request for comment.