Empire star Jussie Smollett has been brutally beaten and attacked in what police are treating as a possible hate crime.
The actor, who plays Jamal Lyon in the US series, was taken to hospital after his attackers beat him, put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance over him, before fleeing the scene.
According to a police report obtained by HuffPost US, Jussie was walking down a Chicago street when two people approached him and began shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him.
The offenders then began punching him in the face, before pouring the liquid on him and wrapping a rope around his neck.
US site TMZ was first to report the news, also claiming that Jussie’s attackers shouted “this is MAGA country” – short for Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan – at him.
After his attackers fled the scene, Jussie sought treatment at a nearby hospital, and is described as being in “good condition”.
Police are now investigating, with a spokesperson saying in a statement: “The Chicago Police Department received a report of a possible racially-charged assault and battery involving a cast member of the television show Empire.
“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime.
“Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline.
“The victim is fully cooperating with investigators.”
After starting out as a child star, Jussie rose to wider fame when he was cast in Empire in 2014, playing a gay musician who struggles to gain the approval of his father, the owner of a successful hip-hop record label.
The actor first spoke publicly about his own sexuality in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres a year after Empire debuted.