Empire colleagues and Hollywood stars have sent their support to actor Jussie Smollett, after he was beaten in a suspected homophobic and racist hate incident.
The out Empire star was hospitalised after being attacked in the early hours of Tuesday morning (January 29) in Chicago.
Smollett was reportedly beaten by two men in the attack, during which he was subjected to homophobic slurs and had a chemical substance poured on him.
In the wake of the shocking news, the star’s colleagues have come together in solidarity on social media.
Empire colleagues sent love to Smollett
In an emotional video posted to Instagram, Empire co-creator Lee Daniels said: “It’s taken me a minute to come to social media about this because, Jussie, you are my son
“You didn’t deserve nor anybody deserves to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you, to be called ‘faggot n****r’ 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.
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Daniels added: “We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are because it shows we are united on a united front and no racist f**k can come in and do the things that they did to you.
“Hold your head up, Jussie. I’m with you. I’ll be there in a minute. It’s just another f**ing day in America.”
Empire co-creator Danny Strong wrote on Twitter: “I’m deeply horrified and saddened by the racist and homophobic attacks against @JussieSmollett.
“Whoever did this, do not forget that you are nothing but hate filled cowards.”
— Danny Strong
“He is a kind and profoundly talented soul whom I respect with all my heart. The terror of racism and homophobia has no place in our society, it is the most indecent way to live.
He added: “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.”
Vivica A. Fox, who plays Smollett’s on-screen aunt on Empire, added: “I’m just now hearing the news about the senseless hate attack on my #EMPiRE Nephew @JussieSmollett IM SO ANGRY AND HURT ABOUT THIS!
“THIS MUST STOP!! SPREAD LOVE NOT HATE! PRAYERS UP TO U NEPHEW! 😢😢🙇🏾♀️🙇🏾♀️”
A statement on behalf of the entire Empire production adds: “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 shared united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate, and especially against one of our own.”
Stars vowed to stand up to hate after Jussie Smollett attack
Other friends and Hollywood stars also offered their support.
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Pose star Ryan Jamaal Swain tweeted: “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 🖤🖤”
John Legend wrote: “Sending love to Jussie and the Smollett family after this horrific attack. We support you and pray that you find peace and justice.”
The Flash actress Candice Patton wrote: I am so angered and saddened. I cannot form the right words. I weep at this monstrous display hatred and racism.
“All I can say of worth is that we love you deeply @JussieSmollett. This will not stop your light. We won’t let it.”
The comic Margaret Cho wrote: “No words. Love to you @JussieSmollett ❤️❤️❤️❤️”
Matt Bomer wrote: “Sending my love and prayers to you @JussieSmollett . This is unacceptable and they will be brought to justice.”
LGBT+ media charity GLAAD said: “GLAAD reached out to Fox and Jussie’s team today to offer assistance as well as support for him. Jussie is a true champion for LGBTQ people and is beloved by the community and allies around the world.”