(CHICAGO) — Hollywood is rallying around Empire star Jussie Smollett, hospitalized early Tuesday morning after being brutally attacked by two assailants in Chicago. According to police, the two men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at Smollett, poured an unknown chemical substance on him, and put a rope around his neck.
Chicago Police confirms to ABC News that prior to the attack, there was an earlier threat made to Smollett in the form of a letter, and that investigation has been taken over the FBI.
In an emotional Instagram video, Empire creator Lee Daniels offered his unwavering support.
“It’s taken me a minute to come to social media about this because Jussie you are my son,” he said in the video. “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 f****t n***** or whatever they said to you. You are better than that.”
Lee went on to say that he and others were putting up a “united front” against those who have a racist and homophobic agenda.
Other celebrities, including John Legend, Jackee Harry, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and Vivica A. Fox also sent support to the actor, with Fox referring to Smollett as her “Empire nephew.”
“IM SO ANGRY AND HURT ABOUT THIS! THIS MUST STOP!! SPREAD LOVE NOT HATE!,” she wrote in part.
Empire’s network, FOX, also released a statement on the incident.
“We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our EMPIRE family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night,” read the statement.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Cory Booker called the attack on Smollett “an attempted modern-day lynching” and urged Congress to “pass our Ant-Lynching bill designating lynching as a federal hate crime.”
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