Celebrities rally around Jussie Smollett following suspected hate crime
Smollett took himself to hospital after allegedly having a rope wrapped around his neck.
Celebrities have rallied around Empire star Jussie Smollett after he was attacked in what police suspect was a hate crime.
The 35-year-old actor, who is black and came out as gay in 2015, was approached by two men in downtown Chicago at about 2am on Tuesday, police said.
He was struck in the face before having an “unknown chemical substance” poured over him and a rope wrapped around his neck, according to investigators.
The suspects shouted racial and homophobic slurs during the attack, police said. No arrests have been made.
Police also confirmed Smollett told them his attackers made reference to MAGA – Make America Great Again – which was Donald Trump’s slogan during the 2016 US presidential campaign.
Smollett has starred on Fox’s musical drama Empire since 2015. He plays Jamal, the gay son of a music mogul.
Smollett took himself to Chicago’s Northwestern Hospital and “is in good condition”, police said.
Following the attack, Ariana Grande was among the celebrities to offer support.
Grande said the incident left her “sick to my stomach” and sent, “all of the healing energy / love i possibly can and hoping for change”.
Grande added: “What can we do ? tell me & i’m there.”
Actress Olivia Munn wrote on Twitter the attack was, “why we have to have zero tolerance against homophobia and racism. Jussie’s life matters”.
Jussie Smollett was violently attacked by two white men who poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck. He was targeted for being black and for being gay. THIS is why we have to have zero tolerance against homophobia and racism. Jussie’s life matters.— Olivia Munn (@oliviamunn) January 29, 2019
Alyssa Milano said she was struggling to put her feelings into a “neat & tidy tweet”, adding, “Living together on the planet shouldn’t be this difficult”.
I’ve been trying to figure out all day what to say about the racist, homophobic, violence against @JussieSmollett.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) January 30, 2019
Not sure I can describe what I’m feeling in a neat & tidy tweet. His trauma deserves more.
I’m sad. Living together on the planet shouldn’t be this difficult.
Michael B Jordan wrote on Instagram: “Stand with my brother @jussiesmollett sending you light and love. Be strong We got you.”
Queer Eye host Jonathan Van Ness said “queer people are attacked every single day”, adding: “We have not come as far as we think.”
View this post on Instagram
We love you @jussiesmollett & pray for your recovery 🏳️🌈 You are a strong beautiful man & as a collective society not limited to the United States we have to protect the safety of all. We have to educate people who would bring violence to those who live differently. This hate is not of god, it’s of ignorance. Queer people are attacked every single day, we have not come as far as we think. You probably have someone in your family or friend circle who desperately needs to be an ally due to the ignorance they possess. Change can & must start with you.
Kevin Hart, who stepped down from his role as Oscars host after historical homophobic tweets surfaced, also sent Smollett a message of support.
View this post on Instagram
Sending prayers your way @jussiesmollett ....This is unbelievably sad. Why are we going backwards....this is disgusting. We as people have to do better. WTF is going on the world???? Why are we falling in love with hate???? God damn it people....Choose love...I repeat...Choose love. I will forever choose love and I will continue to teach my kids how to do the same. Stand strong brother
He wrote on Instagram: “Why are we going backwards….this is disgusting. We as people have to do better.”
US president Trump is yet to comment, despite pressure to do so. Earlier Empire creator Lee Daniels reacted to the attack and said “America is better than that”.
In an emotional video to Instagram, Daniels called Smollett his “son”, before calling for change.
He said: “It starts at home. We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are.”
As well as his acting, Smollett is also a singer and activist who has advocated HIV/Aids prevention.