According to reports, upon learning of the threatening letter the "Empire" star was sent last week, Fox had offered additional security to the actor for when he wasn't working on set. Smollett, 35, decided to turn down the offer.
The letter was created with cutout letters from magazines and reads, "You will die black f-g." After his employers were notified of the threat, the entertainment company increased its security measures onset. Smollett was not reportedly interested in taking on extra bodyguards for his time off the clock.
After being attacked by two men who used racist and homophobic slurs, as well as poured an unidentified "chemical substance" on him and tied a rope around his neck, Smollett took himself to the hospital and was later released after receiving medical attention.
While the assault is currently under investigation by the Chicago Police Department, Fox has decided to halt production "Empire" temporarily. The company's decision is reportedly not directly related to the hate crime attack, but also due to weather conditions. The Windy City is currently experiencing arctic temperatures. Fox has also halted production on the Chicago-based series "Proven Innocent." Production will remain suspended until the weather condition improves and temperatures rise above 0 degrees.
"We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our Empire family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night," 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment shared in a statement with E! News. "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 of any despicable act of violence and hate — and especially against one of our own."
"Empire" is currently filming its fifth season and is set to air on Feb. 15, 2019. It is not yet clear if the production halt will impact the intended schedule.
Smollett is reported to be in "good condition" and has began recovering from the vicious attack. At the time of this report, the actor has not yet made a statement commenting on the situation.