Actor Jussie Smollett has been attacked in an apparent homophobic attack which left the Empire star hospitalised, TMZ has reported.
According to the entertainment website, the incident happened at around 2am local time on Tuesday in Chicago.
According to reports, the 35-year-old was physically assaulted by two people who "placed a noose" around the actor's neck and yelled "this is MAGA country", referring to Donald Trump's controversial slogan.
The attack was later confirmed by the Chicago Police Department.
Sources connected to the actor reportedly told TMZ that Smollett had arrived late in Chicago - where he shoots Empire - from New York and went to a Subway sandwich shop to get some food when the two men started yelling homophobic and racial slurs.
TMZ reported that when he walked out, someone yelled, "Aren't you that f***ot Empire n*****?"
The two then allegedly started assaulting the actor while pouring bleach on him.
A noose was said to have been tied around his neck during the attack.
Sources close to the singer told TMZ that both of the men were white and yelled that "this is MAGA country".
People wearing #mags hats perpetrated this violence. They called him the F word and poured bleach on him. @realDonaldTrump is this how you intend to make America great? This is on you and your daily vitriolic spew. I weep for Jussie and what you have done to my country. pic.twitter.com/w07OT9H0wB— Lea DeLaria (@realleadelaria) January 29, 2019
The actor was taken to a nearby hospital where it was reported he suffered a fractured rib.
Smollett has reportedly been the target of other attacks; US website ThatGrapeJuice also published abusive letters that the actor had recently received, saying, "You will die black f**".
Chicago police released a statement saying they were treating the attack as a "possible hate crime".
DEAR GOD! Prayers and justice for Jussie Smollett.— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) January 29, 2019
Police described the attack as a "racially charged assault and battery", describing how the offenders "poured a chemical substance on the victim" and "wrapped a rope" around the actor's neck.
Singer Zendaya and actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Kerry Washington were among the celebrities who took to Twitter to offer the actor support.
The actor announced he was gay in 2015 during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, during which he said he hoped his coming out would help other gay people feel less alone.
This is happening. NOW. In OUR country. https://t.co/C1Zxsx9Y9Q— Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) January 29, 2019
Smollett has starred as Jamal Lyon, who is also gay, on the hit series of Empire for the past five seasons.
The showfollows the powerhouse Lyon family who dominate the music industry. Taraji P Henson and Terrance Howard also star.