US Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have called the suspected homophobic and racist attack on gay actor Jussie Smollett “an attempted modern-day lynching.”
Smollett was reportedly beaten by two men in the incident, during which he had a chemical substance poured on him, a rope wrapped around his neck, and was subjected to homophobic slurs.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told local TV station ABC7 that according to Smollett, his attackers yelled “MAGA country” during the assault.
MAGA is the acronym for President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, Make America Great Again.
Politicians condemn attack on Jussie Smollett and send support
In their messages of support, Booker and Harris urged their fellow politicians to pass the anti-lynching bill they co-sponsored in the Senate.
Booker, a New Jersey Senator, tweeted: “The vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching. I’m glad he’s safe.
“To those in Congress who don’t feel the urgency to pass our Anti-Lynching bill designating lynching as a federal hate crime–I urge you to pay attention.”
“This was an attempted modern-day lynching. No-one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or colour of their skin.”
— Kamala Harris
Harris, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, said: “Jussie Smollett 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 colour of their skin. We must confront this hate.”
Multiple high-ranking Democratic lawmakers have spoken up in support of Smollett, who came out as gay on The Ellen Degeneres Show in 2015.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted: “The racist, homophobic attack on Jussie Smollett is an affront to our humanity. No one should be attacked for who they are or whom they love.
“I pray that Jussie has a speedy recovery & that justice is served. May we all commit to ending this hate once & for all.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden said that “what happened today to Jussie Smollett must never be tolerated in this country.
“We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbour; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie.”
California congresswoman Maxine Waters said: “Jussie is my friend—a very talented & beautiful human being.
“It is so hurtful that homophobic haters would dare hurt someone so loving and giving. I’m dedicated to finding the culprits and bringing them to justice.
“Jussie did not deserve to be harmed by anyone!”