‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett has been violently attacked in an apparent homophobic and racist hate crime that left him hospitalized.
The 35-year-old, who came out as gay to Ellen in 2015, was set upon by two men in ski masks at 2am on Tuesday in Chicago, ThatGrapeJuice.Net reports.
A photo of Smollett, which showed him still in his hospital bed, reveals the actor’s bruised and swollen face. The picture, taken from a FaceTime conversation between Smollett and ‘Empire’ creator Lee Daniels, also showed a cut under his right eye.
The FBI is now investigating the case as a racially-charged battery and assault. They are looking at nearby businesses for possible surveillance video.
Sources familiar with the show’s production told TMZ that Smollett and the rest of the cast will have armed security for the duration of their time in Chicago.
Police reports state that Smollett was walking from a local Subway sandwich shop when the two men started yelling homophobic and racial slurs, including: ‘Aren’t you that f***ot ‘Empire’ n*****?’
The 35-year-old was attacked at 2am on Tuesday in Chicago by two men in ski masks. He is pictured talking on FaceTime with Lee Daniels
The two then started beating on the actor while pouring bleach on him.
A noose was then tied around his neck, and Smollett was still wearing it a 2:42am when police arrived on the scene.
The Chicago Police Department also confirmed to DailyMail.com that Smollett informed them the men were screaming ‘this is MAGA country’ during the attack.
Smollett was admitted to the Northwestern Memorial Hospital but has since been released. He suffered a fractured rib, during the attack, and is said to have put up a fight when he was beaten.
The attacks are believed to be premeditated as Smollett received a cut out letter, dated from January 18, stating that ‘You will die black f*g’
The attacks are believed to be premeditated as Smollett received a cut out letter, date stamped from January 18, stating that ‘You will die black f*g.’
Prior to the attack, Smollett had been stranded in LaGuardia’s Airpoty in New York for upwards of five hours while he waited for weather to become permissible in Chicago.
He posted a series of videos to his Insta-Story showing the weather in Chicago and his annoyance with waiting on the flight.
Every single Democrat who has entered the 2020 primary had issued a statement condemning the individuals who committed this act by Tuesday afternoon, with the exception of Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Smollett lives in Chicago while the popular FOX show films
The White House had not said anything at all on the matter however as of 8pm on Tuesday night in Washington DC.
Many Democrats also took to social media to lend their support for the actor and to call out racism and homophobia.
Bernie Sanders wrote on Twitter: ‘The racist and homophobic attack on Jussie Smollett is a horrific instance of the surging hostility toward minorities around the country. We must come together to eradicate all forms of bigotry and violence.’
Senator Kamala Harris wrote: ‘@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.’
Fellow Democrat Pete Buttigieg tweeted: ‘While the struggle for basic hate crime legislation continues here in Indiana, this horrible attack calls all Americans to stand against hatred and violence in all its forms.’
Julian Castro tweeted: ‘1/ If the reports of Jussie Smollett’s attack last night are true, and this was a racially and homophobically-motivated attack, then God-willing, justice will be swift and thorough.
‘2/ That this happens in today’s America is not surprising, but it is no less heartbreaking. This shakes us to our core.’
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted: ‘This is a sickening and outrageous attack, and horribly, it’s the latest of too many hate crimes against LGBTQ people and people of color. We are all responsible for condemning this behavior and every person who enables or normalizes it. Praying for Jussie and his family.’
The Chicago Police Department is investigating the case as a racially-charged battery and assault. They are looking at nearby businesses for possible surveillance video
Prior to the attack, Smollett had been stranded in LaGuardia’s Airpoty in New York for upwards of five hours while he waited for weather to become permissible in Chicago
Reverend Al Sharpton added: ‘The reported hate attack on my friend and brother, actor Jussie Smollett is despicable and outrageous. The guilty must face the maximum.’
Smollett lives in Chicago while the popular FOX show films.
Empire follows the Lyon family as they try to maintain their dominance in the music industry. Taraji P Henson and Terrance Howard star as the main powerhouse couple in the series.
Smollett has played Jamal Lyon – an openly gay singer – for five seasons on the hit FOX series.
‘We send our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice,’ 20th Century Fox said in a statement. ‘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.’
Celebrities including Janet Jackson, John Legend and Lee Daniels have all rushed to offer their support in the wake of the horrifying attack.
He is additionally known for playing Terry Hall in 1992’s ‘The Mighty Ducks’. The singer and actor is also related to actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell.
Smollett has used his profile to work heavily with Little Miss Flint and getting clean water to the predominantly black Michigan town. He is also an advocate for LGBTQIA rights and is considered a close friend of the Human Rights Campaign
20th Century Fox released a statement sending their love and support to the actor
He has played Jamal Lyon for five seasons on the hit series (pictured)
‘This shocking attack on our friend and tremendous advocate Jussie Smollett is, unfortunately, not an isolated incident. There is an alarming epidemic of hate violence in our country that disproportionately targets Black people, LGBTQ people, and religious minorities — and particularly those living at the intersections of multiple identities,’ said HRC President Chad Griffin.
‘Empire’ creator Lee Daniels took to his Instagram on Tuesday and said that he had lots of love for the star
‘Last year alone, at least 26 transgender people, mostly transgender women of color, were brutally murdered. This is an unacceptable crisis, and HRC continues to press for improved reporting, passage of state laws that protect LGBTQ individuals from hate crimes, and expanded education and training initiatives.’
Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, added: ‘The recent racist and homophobic attack on acclaimed actor and activist Jussie Smollett is troubling.
‘The rise in hate crimes is directly linked to President Donald J. Trump’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric. It is dangerous for any society to allow a tone of divisiveness and hatred to dominate the political discourse.
‘As this rhetoric continues to bleed into our everyday lives, dangerous behavior will continue to place many law-abiding individuals at risk. We pray for a full physical and mental recovery Jussie Smollett and many unnamed victims of this forum of hate based terrorism.’
However prominent Democrats (seen above), various celebrities and fans took to social media to lend their support for the actor and to call out racism and homophobia
Celebrities rally behind Empire’s Jussie Smollett after he is brutally attack in Chicago
Celebrities and fans alike have rallied to lend their support to Jussie Smollett after the 35-year-old actor was attacked in what is being investigated as a hate crime.
Janet Jackson took to her Twitter to share a special message for the actor, along with a photo of the two of them together.
‘Sending so much luv and healing energy your way @jussiesmollett. we know that you’ll continue to change the world,’ added Fergie.
The sentiment was shared by Shonda Rhimes, who said: ‘Sending love, healing, and support to @jussiesmollett. We ALL have a responsibility to rise up against the ignorance and hate out there. If you know who did this, REPORT THEM TO THE POLICE.’
Naomi Campbell posted a impassioned plea to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to find the people responsible for the attack.
Sending love to Jussie and the Smollett family after this horrific attack. We support you and pray that you find peace and justice,’ said John Legend.
‘This is heartbreaking and terrifying…please pay attention to what’s happening here,’ said Zendaya. ‘Sending all my love to @JussieSmollett.’
‘No words. Love to you @JussieSmollett,’ added Margaret Cho.
‘This is horrifying,’ said Jamilah Lemieux. ‘We love you @JussieSmollett. May justice be swift and unflinching.’
‘@JussieSmollett I love you,’ said Tika Sumpter
‘@JussieSmollett praying you have a full and speedy recovery. So sorry this happened to you, added Raegan Gomez.
Many condemned the racist and homophobic behavior and demanded justice.
Ana Navarro said: ‘I saw Jussie Smollett in Miami last week. I can’t believe this happened. It is sad and disgusting and and deplorable.’
The sentiment was shared by Reverend Al Sharpton, who added: ‘The reported hate attack on my friend and brother, actor Jussie Smollett is despicable and outrageous. The guilty must face the maximum.’
‘Sending so much love and prayers to you, @jussiesmollett. I’m in disbelief of what happened to you,’ added Eva Longoria. ‘It’s a senseless act that shall be met with justice! I can’t believe this is happening in 2019. This world has no room for hate. #AwaitingJustice’
Others took the moment to throw criticism at ‘gay jokes’ and Kevin Hart’s recent appearance on Ellen where he addressed the controversy surrounding his hosting the Oscars.
Actor Ryan Jamaal Swain stated: ‘This is why holding “a little homophobic joke'”accountable is taken so FREAKING SERIOUSLY. To quote @amandaseales, you have to be overly confident…black gay men have to deal w/ not only racism but homophobia.’ It is always abt duality and a form of respect. @JussieSmollett
‘Given what we’ve seen so far, I fully expect the men who attacked Jussie Smollett to score a sit-down interview with Ellen at some point in the next few weeks,’ said Saeed Jones. ‘Maybe it will be a roundtable discussion with Kevin Hart.’