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Jussie Smollett received hate mail days before racist attack

ATTACKED: Jussie Smollett

EMPIRE ACTOR Jussie Smollett received racist and homophobic hate mail days before he was the victim of a hate crime in Chicago in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon in TV drama Empire, is understood to have been set upon by two people who shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him.

He was beaten and had an unknown substance thrown over him when he was attacked. Chicago Police also reported that the actor had a rope wrapped around his neck during the incident.

Days before the attack, he was sent an abusive letter that used cut out letters to spell out the message: “You will die black f**.”

The hate mail was sent to the Fox studios in Chicago where the TV show Empire is filmed.

The Chicago Police department are working to identify the people behind the hate crime attack on the actor. It is understood that they wore ski masks and asked him: “Aren’t you that f***** Empire n*****?” and shouted: “This is MAGA country”, a reference to president Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan.

In a statement, the Chicago Police Department said: “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.”

Stars are speaking out to show their support of the 35-year-old and condemn his attackers.

Viola Davis wrote on Instagram: “OMG! This is why the LGBTQ community continue to fight to be seen and protected against hate!

We all have to take this racist and homophobic act of violence very personally! My arms are around you Jussie Smollett. You are loved!”

Janelle Monae also used Instagram to share a heartfelt message in response to the news.

“This hate crime against our brother Jussie Smollett is proof that no matter how famous you may be it still does not protect you from vicious racist homophobes !! AND It is still a risk daily to be a black, out, and proud human being. I am sending so much love to you Jussie . Praying for your healing. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me and so many people. Thank you for inspiring us to walk in our truth. Thank you for choosing freedom over fear. I will continue to walk bold, black, and proud in your honor [sic] always. With love from your bi/pan/free ass motha***** sis. This pic is of me thanking him for sending flowers after the RS article (which gave me great anxiety btw). What a kind, kind, kind soul," she wrote.

Smollett, who announced he was gay on TV in 2015, has not spoken publicly of the attack as of yet.

He was hospitalised after the attack but has since been released.

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