Lee Daniels Shares Powerful Words for Jussie Smollett After Racist, Homophobic Attack -- Watch
By Alex Ungerman
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Lee Daniels is speaking truth and love to hatred.
The filmmaker and Empire creator took to Instagram on Tuesday following news that one of the show's stars, Jussie Smollett, had been hospitalized after a horrific racist and homophobic attack in Chicago on Monday night.
"It's taken me a minute to come to social media about this, because Jussie, you are my son. You didn't deserve, nor anybody deserves to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you, to be called 'die fa**ot' n***er', or whatever they said to you," Daniels, 59, implored. "You are better than that. We are better than that. America is better than that. It starts at home... It starts at home, yo."
"We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are because it shows that we are united on a united front. And no racist f**k can come in and do the things that they did to you," Daniels added. "Hold your head up, Jussie. I'm with you, I'll be there in a minute, it's just another f**king day in America."
Watch Daniels' message below.
20th Century Fox and Fox Entertainment provided a statement to ET after the attack, writing, "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.”
Smollett was hospitalized in Chicago after the racist and homophobic attack, ET can confirm.
According to the Chicago Police Department's incident details, two unknown offenders approached a 30-year-old man while he was walking, yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him. Police say that the men then began to attack the victim's face with their hands and poured an unknown chemical substance onto him.
During the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim's neck, according to police, who say that the offenders then fled the scene, and the victim was self-transported to Northwestern Hospital. He is in good condition, and Area Central Detectives are investigating.
"Jussie is mostly physically OK with some scrapes and bruises, but he’s more emotionally shook up," a source tells ET.
In a statement to ET on Tuesday, Chicago police spokesperson Anthony Gugliemi confirmed the apparent attack is being treated as a hate crime.
"Overnight, the Chicago Police Department received a report of a possible racially-charged assault and battery involving a cast member of the television show Empire. Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime," the statement read. "Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline. The victim is fully cooperating with investigators and we ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382 or report it anonymously to www.cpdtip.com."
Daniels joined the outpouring of love and sorrow for Smollett after news of the incident broke. People all over Twitter, including John Legend, Matt Bomer and Viola Davis have reached out with messages of solidarity and support.
See below for everything we know about the attack.