Jussie Smollett, one of the stars of Fox's smash hit Empire, came out publicly as gay in 2015.
He has now been the target of a vicious hate crime that appears to have been motivated both by his race and sexuality.
His assailants hurled slurs at him, poured bleach on him, and put his neck in a noose, yelling "This is MAGA country."
Shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning, Smollett updated fans that he had arrived in Chicago just in time for obscenely cold weather.
"#Mood after spending 7 hours on a plane for a 2 hour flight but finally landing all good," he wrote on Instagram. "Love y’all. Goodnight."
TMZ reports that it was not long after this that Jussie, hungry after his flight, went to Subway to grab a quick bite to eat.
When he emerged from the fast food establishment, two men approached him, and that's when things got terrifying.
One of them reportedly yelled: "Aren't you that f----t 'Empire' n-----?"
Those slurs are too vile to print, but one is homophobic and the other is racial in nature.
Both white men were wearing ski masks. These two unidentified assailants then viciously attacked Jussie.
Though he attempted to fight back, they beat him severely and fractured one of his ribs.
Unfortunately, this outrageous assault was not the end of it.
The two men then slipped a noose around Jussie's neck and then poured bleach on him.
As they departed, both men are said to have yelled: "This is MAGA country."
Jussie was transported to Northwestern Memorial, where he received treatment. He was discharged later on Tuesday.
TMZ reports that police are investigating the attack as battery. They are also looking at this assault as a possible hate crime.
The slurs used seem to indicate that.
Additionally, the noose is a chilling symbol of anti-black hate crimes, referring to countless lynchings.
The pouring of bleach also seems to have been, in addition to a chemical attack, a reference to the color of Jussie's skin.
The Chicago Police Department released a statement on Jussie's assault.
"Overnight, the Chicago Police Department received a possible report of a racially-charged assault and battery," the statement begins."
"Given the severity of the allegations," the statement continues. "We are taking this investigation very seriously."
"And," the CPD says. "Treating it as a possible hate crime."
"Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses, and establish an investigative timeline," the statement shares.
Notably, the official police report refers to the bleach as an "unknown chemical substance."
It will likely be up to the crime lab to confirm that the chemical used in the attack was bleach.
That Grape Juice reports that Jussie received a hateful warning letter just 8 days prior to the monstrous attack.
The letter, scrawled in marker and sent to Fox Studios in Chicago, featured a crude drawing depicting a lynching.
Using cut-out letters, the message read: "You will die black f--," again using a homophobic slur.
The letter was addressed to Jussie by name.
Actors, particularly marginalized actors, may receive threats like this all of the time.
Very few menacing threats are followed up.
Hopefully, police will be able to find witnesses and CCTV footage that will expose the monsters who perpetrated this attack.
It is unclear if the assailants are the same individuals who sent the warning letter.
Sadly, it could be a coincidence -- there is nothing unique about someone scrawling "MAGA" and threatening to lynch a black man.
It is our hope that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice.
We hope that Jussie is recovering well.
Update: TMZ reported additional follow-ups on Tuesday.
The production of Empire held a staff meeting to personally inform everyone involved with the series about the assault on Jussie.
The rest of the cast will have armed security for the duration of production in Chicago.
As for the threatening letter, apparently the FBI was already looking into the death threat.
Additionally, within 12 hours of the assault, Chicago police were already canvassing the area for CCTV footage that might help.
The police were specifically said to have visited a Target and an apartment building.
Lee Daniels, the creator of Empire, took to social media to share a heartfelt video expressing his outrage over the attack.