Empire actor Jussie Smollett hospitalised following suspected hate crime in Chicago

Jussie Smollett was beaten at around 2:00 am in Chicago by two attackers who yelled 'racial and homophobic slurs'.

FP Staff January 30, 2019 12:46:21 IST
Empire actor Jussie Smollett hospitalised following suspected hate crime in Chicago

Black, openly-gay actor Jussie Smollett of the US television program Empire was hospitalised on 29 January in Chicago following a possibly hate-motivated attack in which assailants tied a rope around his neck, police and his co-workers said.

News of the early morning attack left the entertainment world reeling and gay advocacy groups speaking out in support of the 36-year-old actor.

Empire actor Jussie Smollett hospitalised following suspected hate crime in Chicago

Jussie Smollett. Image from Twitter @iylablue

Smollett was beaten at around 2:00 am by two attackers who yelled "racial and homophobic slurs" while he walked downtown in the third-biggest US city, said police, who did not name him but said the victim was an actor from Empire.

Smollett's fellow cast members and production company identified him as the victim.

TMZ had reported that the assailants had shouted, "This is Maga country". They had then poured "an unknown chemical substance" on him, and then wrapped a rope around the actor's neck, according to police.

"Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime," the Chicago Police Department said.

The actor and singer was reportedly in Chicago for a scheduled Saturday concert.

Senator Kamala Harris of California, who on the weekend launched her 2020 campaign to be America's first black female president, called the incident "an attempted modern day lynching."

"No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate," Harris said on Twitter.

Members of the Empire production team and cast, as well as the studio that produces the program, also spoke out.

"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," 20th Century Fox Television said in a statement.

The show's co-creator Lee Daniels posted an Instagram video calling Jussie "my son."

"You didn't deserve, nor anybody deserves, to have a noose put around your neck," Daniels said, addressing the actor.

"Hold your head up Jussie. I'm with you. I'll be there in a minute. It's just another f****ng day in America," he said.

Advocacy groups including the The Trevor Project and the American Civil Liberties Union, quickly offered their support as well.

"LGBTQ people of color live at multiple intersections of oppression, too often facing violence compounded by both racism and homophobia," the ACLU said.

"This isn't the America we want to live in."

(With inputs from Agence France-Presse)

Updated Date:

also read

Superman comes out: DC Comics announces Jon Kent, son of Clark and Lois Lane, is bisexual
Entertainment

Superman comes out: DC Comics announces Jon Kent, son of Clark and Lois Lane, is bisexual

DC Comics described the new Superman as "bisexual" in its press release, which is headlined "Jon Kent finds his identity."

Timothee Chalamet dons iconic velvet topcoat for Willy Wonka first look in upcoming prequel
Entertainment

Timothee Chalamet dons iconic velvet topcoat for Willy Wonka first look in upcoming prequel

Directed by Paul King, Timothee Chalamet is all set to star in Wonka, detailing the origin story of the fictitious candy maker.

Jurassic Park, and the diabolically sumptuous pleasure of watching dinosaurs enjoy a human feast
Entertainment

Jurassic Park, and the diabolically sumptuous pleasure of watching dinosaurs enjoy a human feast

To see a couple of privileged folk, frantically trying to scramble their way to safety, their faces whiter than their original white after what they have just seen. It is oddly satisfying to see how it ends for them, because I know it will.