Empire creator Lee Daniels has said “America is better than that” after the show’s star was injured in a potential hate crime.
Jussie Smollett, 35, was taken to hospital in Chicago at 2am on Tuesday after two men allegedly put a noose around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him in a racially motivated attack.
Police have said “homophobic slurs” were used during an attack.
Smollett plays Jamal Lyon, the gay son of a music mogul, in the Fox drama.
The show’s co-creator Daniels has said the incident was “just another f****** day in America” and urged the nation to improve.
Speaking in a video on Instagram, an emotional Daniels said: “It’s taken me a minute to come to social media about this because Jussie you are my son.
“You didn’t deserve, nor does anybody deserve, to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you, to be called ‘die f*****, n*****’ or whatever they said to you.
“You are better than that. We are better than that. America is better than that.
“It starts at home. We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are.
“No racist f*** can come in and do the things that they did to you.
“Hold your head up, Jussie, I’m with you, I’ll be there in a minute. It’s just another f****** day in America.”
A statement from police said: “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.
“The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim.
“At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck. The offenders fled the scene.”