Refresh for updates… GLAAD has reached out to Empire star Jussie Smollett following what Chicago police are describing as a possible hate crime in which the black, openly gay actor was beaten outside a restaurant by two men who reportedly shouted racist and homophobic epithets.
“GLAAD reached out to Fox and Jussie’s team today to offer assistance as well as support for him,” GLAAD said in a statement. “Jussie is a true champion for LGBTQ people and is beloved by the community and allies around the world.”
Elsewhere, NAACP has weighed in on the attack and called out President Donald Trump’s “racist and xenophobic rhetoric.” ““The recent racist and homophobic attack on acclaimed actor and activist Jussie Smollett is troubling,” President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement. “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 for Jussie Smollett and many unnamed victims of this forum of hate-based terrorism.”
SAG-AFTRA also issued a statement tonight: “Today’s reported attack on actor Jussie Smollett is a vicious and violent crime that cannot be tolerated. We have spoken with Mr. Smollett’s representatives and FOX executives to offer our support, and have sent a SAG-AFTRA representative to the Empire set to assist any of our members who may be in distress. We urge the Chicago authorities to move swiftly to identify, arrest and prosecute Mr. Smollett’s attackers and if applicable, to refer the case for prosecution under federal hate crime laws. We stand with Jussie Smollett, LGBTQ people and all marginalized communities in rejecting intolerance and brutality. An attack on one is an attack on all.”
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement: “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. 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.”
The attackers reportedly punched Smollett before pouring an unknown chemical substance over him. At some point during the attack, one of the suspects wrapped a rope around Smollett’s neck before fleeing the scene. Early and unconfirmed press reports said the attackers shouted pro-MAGA statements. The police statement did not confirm that detail.
See all tweets below.
“No words,” tweeted comic Margaret Cho. “Love to you @Jussie Smollett.”
“This is heartbreaking and terrifying,” tweeted singer-actress Zendaya. “please pay attention to what’s happening here. Sending all my love to @JussieSmollett.”
“I hope @JussieSmollett is okay and I hope the @Chicago_Police find the animals who did this to him,” tweeted Ike Barinholtz.
Deadline will post reactions as they arrive…