Jussie Smollet, star of the TV show Empire, has been attacked in Chicago while walking down a street early on Tuesday, 29 January.
The incident occurred at about 2AM on Tuesday, as Smollet headed back after getting food, following his arrival in Chicago from New York late on Monday evening. He was approached by two individuals, who TMZ has reported as hurling racial and homophobic slurs towards Smollet, before beating him up, tying a noose around his neck and pouring bleach on him.
According to the Chicago Police Department, the attackers, both wearing ski masks, approached Smollet, shouting, “Aren’t you that f***ot ‘Empire’ n*****?”
The two white attackers left shouting, “This is MAGA country.”
Smollet took himself to the Northwestern Memorial hospital in Chicago, where he was treated for a range of injuries, before being discharged later on Tuesday morning.
Reaction to the homophobic and racist attack has been flooding social media, with Empire creator Lee Daniels, coming out against it in particularly strong terms.
Reactions have ranged from outrage to sadness, with many people directly referring to the current US president, Donald Trump’s continued racist rhetoric.
“The recent racist and homophobic attack on acclaimed actor and activist @JussieSmollett is troubling. The rise in hate crimes is directly linked to President Donald J. Trump’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric.” @DerrickNAACP
— NAACP (@NAACP) January 29, 2019
As a fellow #StonewallAmbassador, my heart goes out to @JussieSmollett. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which launched the LGBTQ civil rights movement. This horrific incident underscores the struggle we still face. Thank you Jussie for your courage. https://t.co/RFnbu2dd2P
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 29, 2019
Yes Viola! Hate filled people are being emboldened and we should take it personally. Special prayers up to Jussie and anyone else who has had to witness hate on this level https://t.co/wv8UFxRVkx
— Regina King (@ReginaKing) January 29, 2019
Jussie Smollett,’Empire' Actor, Reportedly Attacked In Possible Hate Crime.NPR. VILLAINY, RACISM,HOMOPHOBIA, PROMOTED BY MOST INFAMOUS ?IN ?,IS THE POISON THAT KILLS??.WHITE ONLY IS NOT RIGHT.?? IS PPL OF COLOR.??GOP GOES DOWN WITH SHIP djt
— Cher (@cher) January 30, 2019
what happened to jussie makes me really fucking sick to my stomach. i can’t believe shit like this is really still happening everyday. what kind of world ? sending all of the healing energy / love i possibly can and hoping for change. what can we do ? tell me & i’m there.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) January 29, 2019
This is beyond upsetting. What happened to @JussieSmollett is a truly horrible racist, homophobic hate crime. I hope we can find an end to the hate and fear that plagues this country. Praying for your recovery, Jussie. ?? https://t.co/9llTsCYKYQ
— Reese Witherspoon (@RWitherspoon) January 29, 2019
1/3 – I’ve known Jussie since he was 10 years old, and a man of @JussieSmollett’s talent, intellect and kindness should be an undisputed blessing to our community. My heart is hurting knowing that he’s suffering…and for what? Just for being?
— Halle Berry (@halleberry) January 29, 2019
I am questioned all the time about what defines toxic masculinity. Look no further than what just happened to @JussieSmollett . Get well brother???
— terry crews (@terrycrews) January 29, 2019
Thus far, the president – a frequent user of Twitter – has not used the platform, or any other, to react to the attack.