Chicago investigators are searching for video footage that may show the brutal attack on “Empire” star Jussie Smollett that occurred early Tuesday morning. Smollett was reportedly attacked by two masked men as he left his Chicago apartment to get something to eat around 2 a.m.
The Blast obtained dispatch audio of Chicago officials “canvassing” the area for cameras near Smollett’s luxury apartment building. Smollett, 36, is in Chicago filming the scripted TV series Empire.
According to The Blast, investigators are searching for external cameras outside buildings, or any other video recording equipment that may have picked up the violent incident involving the actor.
Sources tell WENN.com the suspects recognized Smollett from his role as openly homosexual singer/songwriter Jamal Lyon on hit hip-hop drama Empire, and shouted, “Aren’t you that f**got Empire n**ger?”
Police claim the suspects, who were wearing black ski masks, began beating him and poured a chemical substance over him, before tying a rope as a noose around his neck.
TMZ insiders allege the men yelled, “This is MAGA country,” as they ran off, referencing U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” which has been adopted by white supremacists to promote their beliefs.
One employee at Smollett’s luxury high-rise apartment building tells The Blast cops were “crawling” all over the area Tuesday morning. So far no video has been identified.
Sources close to the actor tell The Blast Smollett usually drives in and out of the building’s protected parking area. They believe the openly homosexual actor was specifically targeted because the attackers knew he was on foot.
As The Blast reported, Smollett told cops the two suspects threw bleach in his face while yelling racial and homophobic insults at him. There was also a noose allegedly placed around his neck.
Smollett refused an ambulance, and transported himself to the hospital. He was released in “good condition” hours later.
Police are currently investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
According to WENN.com, it’s been revealed that officers investigating a disturbing death threat sent to Smollett at the Fox Studios in Chicago.
The envelope, on which the sender wrote “MAGA”, contained a note with magazine letters cut out to spell, “You will die black f**.” Sources tell TMZ it was sent eight days before Smollett’s attack.
Smollett came out as homosexual during a nationally televised interview with Ellen DeGeneres in March 2015.
Smollett told Ellen he had some romantic interest in girls as a boy. He defended a scene in Empire in which he was involved in a sexual tryst with a woman and fathered a child with her.
Smollett explained that he and director Lee Daniels, who is also openly homosexual, created the scene to start a conversation about sexual fluidity in the homosexual community.
Daniels said, “Jussie and I both share the same feeling that, yes, even though we are gay, we’re sexual human beings. And we do occasionally want to sleep with a woman.”