Chicago: One of the stars of the television series Empire has been the target of a racist and homophobic attack.
Chicago Police Department said 35-year-old actor Jussie Smollett was attacked by two people “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.”
Smollett’s two attackers then poured “an unknown chemical substance” on him and placed a rope around his neck before fleeing the scene.
Smollett was able to transport himself to Northwestern Hospital after the attack, police said.
“Given the severity of the allegations we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime,” a police spokesperson said.
According to media reports, the chemical substance which was poured on Smollett was bleach.
Police said the attackers approached Smollett using derogatory terms referring to both Smollet’s race and sexuality.
Both attackers were wearing black clothing, the police said. One of the attackers was wearing a mask, believed to be a ski mask.
Chicago Police confirmed that detail after interviewing Smollett at Northeastern Hospital.
US senator and preseidential candidate Kamala Harris described the attack as “an attempted modern-day lynching.”
“Jussie Smollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know,” Harris said. “I’m praying for his quick recovery.
“No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or colour of their skin. We must confront this hate.”