TMZ published an exclusive report today detailing a homophobic and racist assault that allegedly happened to gay “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett:

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett was brutally attacked by 2 men who beat him up, put his head in a noose and screamed, “This is MAGA country.”

Sources directly connected to Jussie tell TMZ, the actor arrived in Chicago from New York late Monday, and at around 2 AM he was hungry and went to a Subway. We’re told when shortly after he walked out on his way home, someone yelled, “Aren’t you that f***ot ‘Empire’ n*****?”

The 2 men — both white and wearing ski masks — viciously attacked Jussie as he fought back, but they beat him badly and fractured a rib. They put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him and as they left they yelled, “This is MAGA country.”

Also per TMZ, a letter threatening Smollett was received by Fox Studios in Chicago studio 8 days ago :

No doubt this is deeply disturbing news. But in their rush to cover this story, one thing some media outlets have gotten wrong in their early reporting is the “MAGA shouting/white guys” angle.

Robby Soave at Reason posted a huge scoop on this developing story earlier today:

“According to the victim, the offenders’ faces were concealed,” a police spokesperson told Reason. “We have no record indicating that [they shouted ‘MAGA’], we only have record of them shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him.”

Chicago police have also released a statement contradicting claims that Smollett identified his attackers’ race and heard them shout “MAGA.”

“We have no record of The MAGA Country comment,” said the police in a statement. “We have racial and homophobic comments documented.”

Even without a MAGA shouting/white guys component to this story, what Smollett – who has reportedly already been discharged from the hospital – said happened to him is absolutely horrific. If the story is accurate, the perps should absolutely be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

However, in the mad dash to get to the bottom of the allegations in order find out what happened and who committed the alleged acts, the national press needs to keep itself in check on this and have all their facts in order before rushing to social media to report on what they’ve found out.

We don’t need to end up having another false narrative a la the Covington High School kids. Yes, this is a different kind of story, but the same news-gathering rules apply. Facts First and all that. This is a good opportunity for the MSM to show that they’ve learned their lesson.

Will the live up to the challenge? Stay tuned.

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