On Monday night, Empire actor Jussie Smollett was attacked in Chicago by two white men who beat him, yelled racist and homophobic slurs, and put his head in a noose; they also poured a chemical substance over him and yelled, “This is MAGA country” before running away. The actor self-transported to a nearby hospital, and is reportedly recovering in “good” physical condition.
Police are currently investigating the attack as a hate crime; they have identified “persons of interest” and issued a community alert with photos of two people walking away from a security camera.
On Thursday, Smollett’s family issued a statement condemning the attack. Per ABC, the family wrote, “To be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime,” countering the tepid language used by outlets first covering the attack.
The Smollett family statement also highlighted the fact that LGBTQ+ people and people of color, and especially people who live within those intersections, fear and face being attacked every day, writing that people should mobilize against racism, homophobia, and hatred at every level. “Oftentimes ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such,” the family wrote.
You can read their full statement below.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, our beloved son and brother, Jussie, was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack. We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice. Our family thanks everyone for their prayers and the huge amount of love he has received. We are thankful to our village for your immense support during this trying time. We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed. We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country. Oftentimes ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such. They will continue to occur until we hold each other accountable. Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions. Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall. We, as a family, will continue to work for love, equity and justice until it reigns supreme in our nation and all over the world.
With love & gratitude,
The Smollett Family