Celebrities and other notable figures are sending an outpouring of love and support for gay actor Jussie Smollett after an apparent hate crime.
Police confirmed on Tuesday (29 January) that Smollett required hospital treatment after an attack in Chicago. Two white men allegedly harassed and attacked Smollett in the early hours this morning. They also hurled homophobic and racist insults.
They also allegedly put a noose around the actor’s neck and poured an ‘unknown chemical substance’ on him.
He has since been discharged is reportedly in ‘good condition’.
‘We send our love’
Smollett appears on the Fox television series Empire.
The network released the following statement about the actor and what happened:
‘We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our EMPIRE family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night. 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.’
‘It starts at home’
Several of Smollet’s cast and crew from Empire sent messages to him on social media.
Co-creatoe Lee Daniels posted a video addressed to Smollet on Instagram.
‘Jussie, you are my son,’ he began. ‘You didn’t deserve, nor anybody deserves, to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you, or to be called “Die, faggot, nigger,” or whatever they said to you. You are better than that. We are better than that. America is better than that. It starts at home, yo.
‘We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are, because it shows that we are united on [a] united front. And no racist fuck can come in and do the things that they did to you. Hold your head up, Jussie.’
The other co-creator, Danny Strong, described Smollett as ‘a kind and profoundly talented soul’.
…whoever did this, do not forget that you are nothing but hate filled cowards while Jussie’s talent and activism will continue to shine a bright light on to the world for decades to come.
— Danny Strong (@Dannystrong) January 29, 2019
Empire director and writer Eric Haywood wrote he would ‘burn your fucking house down’ to protect Smollett.
I will burn your fucking house down to protect @JussieSmollett.
Write that shit down.
— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) January 29, 2019
Several other celebrities, both LGBTI and otherwise, tweeted support.
Sending love to Jussie and the Smollett family after this horrific attack. We support you and pray that you find peace and justice.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) January 29, 2019
— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) January 29, 2019
Organizations like the ACLU, the Trevor Project, GLAAD, and more also tweeted.
LGBTQ people of color live at multiple intersections of oppression, too often facing violence compounded by both racism and homophobia.
This isn't the America we want to live in.
Our thoughts are with Jussie Smollett and all survivors. https://t.co/o9JG2z3VnG
— ACLU (@ACLU) January 29, 2019
What Jussie Smollett experienced is both, racist and homophobic, hate violence. Full stop.
— AVP (@antiviolence) January 29, 2019
Our hearts are with @JussieSmollett today. This attack must be investigated thoroughly. According to @antiviolence, the severity of hate violence against LGBTQ people is increasing: https://t.co/hN0yNJEmov https://t.co/acWmjzBBzW
— GLAAD (@glaad) January 29, 2019
Keeping our friend @JussieSmollett in our thoughts. Today's news is incredibly upsetting.
If you're struggling, reach out to us 24/7 for support at: 866.488.7386
— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) January 29, 2019