Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon in Fox’s drama series Empire has been hospitalized following an attack in Chicago at 2:00 am on Tuesday morning.
Smollett was approached by two men wearing ski masks who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at the actor. They then put a noose around his neck and proceeded to punch him, before pouring a chemical substance on him.
According to police, the men were yelling “This is MAGA country”, in reference to Donald Trump’s presidential slogan “Make America Great Again”.
Smollett took himself to a hospital where he is currently being treated and is in “good condition”, as he works with police and detectives.
The FBI has now taken over the investigation.
A spokesperson from the police released a statement regarding the attack:
“Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime.”
Since news of the attack broke, celebrities and politicians alike have condemned the nature of the assault, while offering support and well wishes to Smollett, who came out as gay on The Ellen Show in 2015.
Viola Davis shared a photo of Smollett on Instagram:
“We ALL have to take this racist and homophobic act of violence very personally. My arms are around you @jussiesmollett. You are loved!”
Ellen DeGeneres tweeted her support:
“Four years ago, @JussieSmollett came out on my show. I’m sending him and his family so much love today.”
Four years ago, @JussieSmollett came out on my show. I’m sending him and his family so much love today. ❤️
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 29, 2019
Singer Janelle Monae wrote on Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
THIS HATE CRIME against our brother @jussiesmollett is proof that no matter how famous you may be it still does not protect you from vicious racist homophobes !! AND It is still a risk daily to be a BLACK , OUT , and PROUD human being . I am sending so much love to you Jussie . Praying for your healing . Thank you for being such an inspiration to me & soooooo mannnnny people . Thank you for inspiring us to walk in our truth . Thank you for choosing freedom over fear . I will continue to walk BOLD , BLACK , & PROUD in your honor always . 🖤🌈 With love from your bi/pan/free ass mothafucka sis This pic is of me thanking him for sending flowers after the RS article (which gave me great anxiety btw). What a kind kind kind soul .
“It is still a risk daily to be a BLACK, OUT and PROUD human being.”
US Senator Kamala Harris condemned the attack in the strongest terms:
.@JussieSmollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery.
This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 29, 2019
“This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality, or the colour of their skin. We must confront this hate.”
Disgusted by the ugly prejudice and bigotry behind this violence. Sending love to @JussieSmollett & to anyone that has been hurt by the hatred of those who fear difference. As a society, we continue to fail LGBTQIA+ communities and PoC. pic.twitter.com/FFRPIbhOip
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) January 30, 2019
Emma Watson tweeted her support to Smollett and added:
“As a society, we continue to fail LGBTQIA+ communities and POC.”
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.