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Actor Hospitalized After Possible Hate Crime In Chicago

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Fox Studios in Chicago recently received an alarming piece of mail addressed to actor Jussie Smollett.

The letter contained cut out letters that spelled "You will die black f*g," according to entertainment news site ThatGrapeJuice.net.

Eight days later, the Empire star became the victim of a possible hate crime that appears to be linked to the threatening letter.

According to TMZ, Smollett was viciously attacked late Monday night after leaving a Subway restaurant at around 2 a.m.

Sources close to the actor told the celebrity news site that Smollett had just arrived from New York City and Subway was one of few eateries open at that hour.

As we walked out of the store, he heard someone yell "Aren't you that f****t from 'Empire' n***a?" before two men in ski masks proceeded to beat him up.

Reports reveal that the former child actor was not only beaten, they also put a noose around his neck, poured bleach over him, and yelled, "This is a MAGA [Make America Great Again] country."

Smollett reportedly tried to fight back, but his wounds, including a fractured rib, made it difficult for him to defend himself.

It's unclear if there were any witnesses, but Chicago PD corroborates TMZ's report of the events that unfolded.

"Overnight, 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," Chicago PD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement. "Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline."

According to police, the perpetrators fled the scene soon after and Smollett drove himself to the Northwestern Hospital for treatment.

Thankfully, it has been confirmed that "he is in good condition" and is fully cooperating with the authorities.

Since coming out as gay in 2015, Smollett has always been open about discussing his identity. He's been a vocal advocate for equality.

"I've said from the beginning of my journey: I do not hide who I am. I love who I love. No one is going to tell me that somehow that is going to be my disability," The Mighty Ducks alum said in a 2016 interview with Attitude magazine.

He continued, "I am told so many times that I should not walk truly in my blackness, that I should not walk truly in my sexuality, I should not walk truly in who I am. I say thanks but no thanks, f**k you and goodbye. I honestly think that me being myself has actually helped my career move forward."

Smollett was in Chicago to film episodes of the Fox hit show Empire, alongside co-stars Terrance Howard and Taraji P. Henson.

We're wishing him a speedy recovery, and hopefully police will catch the offenders soon.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.