mcloudy.png
Tuesday August 20th, 2019 2:46PM

'Empire' cast member alleges homophobic attack in Chicago

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CHICAGO (AP) — A cast member on the hit television show "Empire" alleged he was physically attacked by men in Chicago who shouted racial and homophobic slurs, police said Tuesday.

Police did not release the actor's name but a statement from Fox, which airs "Empire," identified him as Jussie Smollett, 36. Authorities said they are investigating the alleged attack as a hate crime. Smollett is black and openly gay.

According to a police statement, the actor was walking near the Chicago River downtown around 2 a.m. Tuesday when he was approached by two men who shouted at him, struck him in the face and poured an "unknown substance" on him before one of them wrapped a rope around his neck.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that when officers first came in contact with Smollett, he still had a rope around his neck. While being interviewed by detectives, Guglielmi said Smollett told them that the attackers yelled he was in "MAGA country," an apparent reference to the Trump campaign's "Make America Great Again" slogan that some critics of the president have decried as racist and discriminatory.

The police spokesman added that the two men were wearing masks. Investigators have not found any surveillance video or witnesses from which they can put together a description of the offenders, he said.

Smollett was able to take himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He was last reported in good condition.

Guglielmi also said the FBI is investigating a threatening letter targeting Smollett that was sent to the Fox studio in Chicago last week.

The hourlong drama "Empire" follows an African-American family as they navigate the ups and downs of the record industry. Jamal Lyon, Smollett's character, is the gay, middle son of Empire Entertainment founder Lucious Lyon and Cookie Lyon, played by Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, respectively.

Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment released a statement Tuesday in support of Smollett. "The entire studio, network and production stands united in the face of any despicable act of violence," the statement read.

"Empire" co-creator Lee Daniels also voiced his support for Smollett in an Instagram video.

"You didn't deserve, nor anybody deserves, to have a noose put around your neck," Daniels said. "You are better than that, we are better than that, America is better than that."

California Sen. Kamala Harris, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, knows Smollett personally and called the attack "outrageous" and "awful."

"He is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I've ever met," Harris said Tuesday, adding that she's still learning more details about the incident.

Smollett has been active in LBGTQ issues and he released his debut album, "Sum of My Music," last year.

"Empire" is shot in Chicago and a Fox spokeswoman said the program is currently in production.

___

Associated Press writer Elana Schor contributed to this report from Washington.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
British Jews apply for German nationality as Brexit looms
Brexit is making many Europeans secure citizenship in other EU states, including Jews whose ancestors fled Germany during Nazi rule and are now re-examining their long-held beliefs about the country
7:34PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Court bars Venezuela opposition leader from leaving nation
Venezuela's Supreme Court has barred opposition leader Juan Guaido from leaving the country in a move certain to heighten tensions
7:31PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Midwest cities scramble to keep homeless from dangerous cold
Midwest cities are taking extraordinary steps to protect the homeless and other vulnerable people from the bitter cold
7:18PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Names released of 2 killed in Honolulu crash
Police say a suspected drunken driver in a pickup truck veered into a crowded Honolulu intersection, killing two pedestrians and a bicyclist and injuring four others
6:56PM ( 53 minutes ago )
US launches plan for asylum seekers to wait in Mexico
Trump administration launches effort to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico while cases are decided
6:53PM ( 55 minutes ago )
Texas tells counties noncitizen voter report may be flawed
Officials with the Texas secretary of state's office have begun calling county election chiefs to warn about potential problems with its recent report questioning the citizenship of tens of thousands of registered voters
6:47PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Arrests in Brazil dam disaster, dead fish wash up downstream
Brazilian officials have arrested five people in connection with a dam collapse, while the death toll has risen to at least 84 and the carcasses of fish are floating in river downstream that an indigenous community depends on for food and water
5:42PM ( 2 hours ago )
As cold stalks Midwest, focus is on protecting vulnerable
As temperatures plummet across the Midwest, city officials and others are taking steps to ensure the vulnerable are protected
5:33PM ( 2 hours ago )
Food industry sway over public health gets new scrutiny
As obesity becomes a more pressing global problem, two reports in science journals call for stricter guidelines to limit the food industry's influence on public health
5:14PM ( 2 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
'Superstore' actor relishes true-to-life gay Filipino role
For Nico Santos, the role he plays on NBC's sitcom "Superstore" is personal
6:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
Actresses welcome on-set culture changes in MeToo era
Lorraine Toussaint welcomes the idea of intimacy coaches on television and film sets, even if the actress wasn't quite sure what the job entails
5:38PM ( 2 hours ago )
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow sued over Utah ski crash
A Utah man has filed a lawsuit accusing actress Gwyneth Paltrow of seriously injuring him during a crash at a Park City ski resort in 2016
5:16PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Millennial Money: 5 keys to picture-perfect TV buying
Super Bowl season is an excellent time to purchase a new TV, as long as you have room in your home and budget
10:56AM ( 8 hours ago )
Media night more like a mosh pit and Mardi Gras
Super Bowl Media Night is the NFL's version of a rock concert, with player interviews rather than music. It's a Mardi Gras party, complete with the costumes
10:36PM ( 21 hours ago )
The Latest: Rams' Peters, Fowler perform for TV show
The Latest: Rams' Peters, Fowler perform for TV show
8:47PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Online TV News
British Jews apply for German nationality as Brexit looms
Brexit is making many Europeans secure citizenship in other EU states, including Jews whose ancestors fled Germany during Nazi rule and are now re-examining their long-held beliefs about the country
7:34PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Court bars Venezuela opposition leader from leaving nation
Venezuela's Supreme Court has barred opposition leader Juan Guaido from leaving the country in a move certain to heighten tensions
7:31PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Midwest cities scramble to keep homeless from dangerous cold
Midwest cities are taking extraordinary steps to protect the homeless and other vulnerable people from the bitter cold
7:18PM ( 30 minutes ago )
FBI finds no specific motive in Vegas attack that killed 58
FBI finds no specific motive behind gunman who killed 58 at Las Vegas country music show
7:07PM ( 42 minutes ago )
The Latest: Survivor says Vegas gunman 'just a sick person'
A Nevada attorney says an anonymous donor wants to buy the guns used in the deadliest mass shooting in the nation's modern history to ensure they will be destroyed
7:04PM ( 45 minutes ago )