On Tuesday (Jan. 29), Empire actor Jussie Smollett was brutally attacked by two unidentified men who spewed racist and homophobic words at the 35-year-old entertainer. Smollett was outside of a Subway restaurant in downtown Chicago, Ill., around 2 a.m., when the two suspects attacked him and wrapped a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him.
While authorities continue the search for the assailants, Smollett’s family issued a statement on the matter, referring to it as a “racial and homophobic hate crime.” The family’s statement, per Billboard, also reiterates the fact that these dangerous occurrences are happening across the country “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.”
We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime.
Following news of the assault, Smollett received a wave of support from fellow celebrities and supporters. The FBI is also reportedly ready to assist in the investigation. Recently, an image of the reported suspects was made public after officers watched surveillance footage.
Read the 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.