Update, with Brian Grazer statement Just hours after a violent assault upon Empire star Jussie Smollett early this morning in Chicago, the show’s producer and network are expressing their horror over the attack, which is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
““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 stands united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate — and especially against one of our own,” the statement from 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment read.
Empire exec producer Brian Grazer issued the following statement: “I am disgusted and saddened by the attack on Jussie, one of the nicest and most genuine people I have worked with. I send him much love on his recovery. Hate and bigotry have no place in our society.”
In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Smollett who plays the gay son of Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson’s characters Lucious and Cookie Lyon on Empire, was violently berated and attacked by two men in Chicago shortly after returning from NYC. Chicago police are treating the attack as a “possible hate crime”, according to a statement they made earlier. The police have spoken to the actor who went to a local hospital and is reportedly in good condition now.
Now in its fifth season, the Daniels and Strong-co-created Empire has long dealt with issues of homophobia and discrimination. Daniels has repeatedly said in the past that many incidents in the Lyons’ family in the series were based on incidents in his own life and his own family.