According to TMZ, Smollett was in Chicago, Illinois when around 2:00 a.m. he was attacked by two men wearing ski masks. The men allegedly placed a noose around his neck during the attack.
Smollett was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital to be treated for his injuries, but he is said to have already been released. Police are currently investigating the attack.
The outlet notes that prior to the attack, Smollett received some hate mail that included homophobic threats such as, "You will die black f—."
Smollett has been openly gay for some time, first confirming it during a 2015 interview with Ellen DeGeneres.
The following year, Smollett sat down with Out Magazine, and shared that while he identifies as a gay man, his general philosophy is that love should never be stifled no matter what your sexual orientation is.
"I believe that love is the only thing that matters, and I would hope that anybody would leave themselves open — not to gender, but to love," he said. "I would hope that people would not close themselves off from what could be if, lo and behold, you meet somebody that just sweeps you off your feet, and you just can't do anything about it."
"If we truly believe that we are born this way, then why do we try to stifle the way we were born? If I fall in love down the road with a woman, I'm going to love that woman," Smollett added.
He went on to clarify that he knows his words may "be misconstrued," but added that "this is a conversation that deserves to be had, because we don't all understand each other."
"You're not going to tell me that loving someone is wrong. That does not mean that heterosexuality is not very real. It does not mean that bisexuality is not very real. It does not mean that homosexuality is not very real. They are all very real," Smollett continued. "But what I'm saying is, I am a gay man. I am a gay man. I am a gay man. I don't know how many times I have to say that."
At this time, Smollett does not appear to have publicly commented on the hate crime reports. There is also no indication that Empire producers or representatives for Fox TV have either.