Jussie Smollett, the actor who plays Jamal Lyon in the “Empire” TV series, was attacked on Tuesday morning by two unidentified men. The Chicago Police Department officers are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. Meanwhile, support has been pouring in for the actor online.

Smollett, who has come out as gay, was attacked by two people while he was walking in the 300 block of East North Lower Water Street downtown. The attackers yelled racial and homophobic slurs and poured an unknown chemical substance on him, CNN reported. They later tied a rope around the actor’s neck and fled the scene.

The attack took place when Smollett was walking back to a nearby apartment after getting a snack from a Subway restaurant, Chicago Sun Times reported. The actor had reportedly flown in to Chicago from New York in order to film the next season of “Empire.”

Smollett was initially reluctant to file a complaint with the police because he knew that it would generate a lot of attention since he is a public figure, according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. It was the actor’s manager who later called the police.

There were lacerations on the face and neck of Smollett, and the officers asked the actor to get some treatment after taking his statement. Smollett went to the Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and he was released after getting the treatment.

The two attackers wore ski masks and all black clothing, according to Smollett’s statement to the police. The actor reportedly didn’t give any more details about his attackers, including their race. The attackers reportedly yelled “this is MAGA country” during the attack, which is a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.

Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett was attacked by two unidentified people. In Picture: Jussie Smollett attends the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 60th Anniversary Opening Night Gala Benefit at New York City Center on November 28, 2018 in New York City. Getty Images/Theo Wargo

A dozen police officers are said to be investigating the case with the help of the FBI. The security footage from the cameras at the location where the attack took place hasn’t given the investigators any clue about the identity of the attackers.

The FBI on the other hand is investigating a letter threatening Smollett, New York Times reported. That letter was sent to Fox offices in Chicago.

Hate crimes have been on the rise in the U.S. in the recent year, according to recent data published by the FBI. There was a 17 percent increase in the year 2017 alone when compared to the previous years.