THE Cast of Empire are now under 24/7 armed guard after Jussie Smollett was attacked and covered in bleach by racist thugs.
The actor, 35, was ambushed at 2am on Tuesday in Chicago, by two men wearing ski masks who put a noose around his neck and poured bleach over him while shouting racist and homophobic slurs, according to TMZ.
And now show bosses are determined to make sure their other stars remain unharmed.
An emergency meeting was held on Tuesday while some actors had already arrived on set for filming, according to Entertainment Tonight.
A statement from Fox said: “We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our EMPIRE family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night. ‘We send our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice.
“The entire studio, network and production stand united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate — and especially against one of our own.”
Jussie – who is known for playing Jamal Lyon in the show – is thought to have arrived in Chicago from New York on Monday evening and headed out for food at 2am when he got hungry.
TMZ claims he went to sandwich store Subway and when he walked out he was racially abused by someone who recognised him from Empire.
The men, who TMZ claim were both white, then attacked him and fractured a rib, as Jussie tried to fight back.
They then reportedly put a rope around his neck and covered him in bleach, while shouting “This is MAGA country” (Make America Great Again).
Jussie was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, but has since been released while Chicago PD are investigating the incident at battery.
Chicago PD told TMZ: “[We] 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.”
Another reports from ThatGrapeJuice.net claims Jussie recently received an intimating letter, which read “you will die black f***”.
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Jussie came out as gay in March 2015 during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
He later told Attitude magazine: “I get tired of the idea of someone telling me what my truth is. 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.”
“I am told so many times that I should not walk truly in my blackness,” he continued.
“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.”
The Sun Online has contacted Jussie’s rep for comment.
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