Empire Added Security to Set Over Jussie Smollett Hate Mail Reportedly Sent to Fox Studios
Jussie Smollett was the victim of an violent, apparent hate crime Tuesday in Chicago
The network confirms to PEOPLE that extra security was added after Fox Studios’ Chicago offices allegedly received a threatening homophobic letter addressed to the 35-year-old actor, who is gay, last week. TMZ first reported the news.
A rep for Fox also confirmed that Empire’s shooting schedule will be reshuffled to accommodate his recovery. However, production was temporarily shut down on both of the network’s Chicago-based shows — Empire and Proven Innocent — due to severe weather. (The Illinois city is facing freezing temperatures and a polar vortex.)
Smollett’s rep has not responded to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the FBI is looking into the alleged threatening letter. In photos of the alleged letter obtained by GrapeJuice.net and TMZ, the words “you will die black f–” are spelled out in magazine letter cut-outs.
PEOPLE has reached out to the FBI for comment. The agency declined to comment to the Sun-Times.
The Chicago Police Department confirmed in a statement Tuesday that a member of the hit Fox show was involved in a “racially-charged assault and battery.”
According to Chicago PD, a “36-year-old man was walking … when two unknown offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him. 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.”
The statement added that the victim was treated at Northwestern Hospital and is in “good condition.”
Smollett told police his assailants yelled racially charged and homophobic slurs and President Donald Trump‘s slogan, “MAGA.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, Chicago Police confirmed that the victim — who has not been officially identified as Smollett — remembered his attackers calling out the “Make America Great Again” acronym.
“In the initial reports there was no mention of MAGA,” the statement read. “When detectives [followed] up with him later in the day, he recalled the offenders making those comments and detectives completed a supplemental report.”
Police added that “detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline. The victim is fully cooperating with investigators.”
20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment released a statement Tuesday: “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 stands united in the face or any despicable act of violence and hatred — and especially against one of our own.”