Updated at 5:31 p.m. ET
Jussie Smollett, one of the stars of the TV show Empire, reportedly was brutally attacked early Tuesday in what Chicago police are investigating as a possible hate crime. The 36-year-old actor took himself to the hospital directly after what police called a "possible racially-charged assault and battery," and authorities say he is in good condition.
Smollett, who is black and gay, was said to be walking in the downtown Chicago neighborhood of Streeterville around 2 a.m. local time "when two unknown offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him," the city's police department said in a statement to NPR. "The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim."
The alleged assault did not end there.
"At some point during the incident," police added, "one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim's neck."
Authorities say the two attackers fled on foot. Chicago police say they are gathering video, identifying potential witnesses and trying to establish a timeline of events.
Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment, which produces Empire, said in a statement to NPR that it was "deeply saddened and outraged" to learn of the attack. "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."
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