Black and Gay Empire Star Jussie Smollett in Hospital in Chicago After ‘Premeditated’ Hate Attack by Two MAGA Supporters
‘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.
Sources familiar with the show’s production told TMZ that Smollett and the rest of the cast will have armed security in 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 two then started beating on the actor while pouring bleach on him.
A noose was said to have been tied around his neck during the attack.
Sources close to the singer told TMZ that both of the men were white and yelled that ‘this is MAGA country.’
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, date stamped from January 18, stating that ‘You will die black f*g.’
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.
He would post a series of videos to his Insta-Story showing the weather in Chicago and his annoyance with waiting on the flight.
Various celebrities and fans took to social media to lend their support for the actor and to call out racism and homophobia.
This is heartbreaking and terrifying…please pay attention to what’s happening here. Sending all my love to @JussieSmollett
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
‘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.
‘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.’