In Chicago (where the polar vortex is currently making the city feel like Siberia), police are searching for leads following the assault on Empire star Jussie Smollett that’s being investigated as a hate crime. The FBI also joins the PD in seeking out and scouring video footage and searching for potential witnesses from around the scene where Smollett reported being attacked by two men (who placed a noose around his neck) yelling homophobic and racial slurs at around 2:00am on Tuesday. The Chicago PD asks anyone with information about the attack to call 312-717-8382 or report tips anonymously at cpdtip.com.
CBS News is reporting some new details, including how Smollett’s business manager was the person who called police after the attack. Dispatchers were not keen to divulge much but stated that the call was made “regarding a friend who was assaulted and battered … he’s supposed to be well-known … a noose was placed around the friend’s neck.” CBS also states that when police arrived at Smollett’s apartment, a “noose was still around” the actor’s neck. The officers also confirmed smelling bleach on Smollett’s clothing in their documentation.
Filming on Empire continued as scheduled on Tuesday, according to Variety:
Empire filming is continuing as scheduled for the day, a source tells Variety, amid the assault and subsequent hospitalization of star Jussie Smollett early Tuesday in Chicago.
The Fox show’s production schedule remains “fluid” for the rest of the week, according to the source. It is not yet known how Smollett’s injuries will ultimately impact production on the current season, which would typically wrap in March.
Following the attack, GLAAD rallied around Smollett, an openly gay actor who plays a gay member of the musical family dynasty on the FOX series. He received support from FOX, Empire executive producer Danny Strong, and many other entertainment and political figures. Among those who are standing behind him is Empire co-creator Lee Daniels, who posted this emotional video to Instagram. “You didn’t deserve,” he stated. “Nor anybody deserves, to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you.”