Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Halle Berry, Michael B. Jordan and the cast of Empire are among celebrities voicing support for actor Jussie Smollett and outrage over his attack on a Chicago street in an apparent hate crime.
Smollett, 35, who stars as Jamal Lyon on Fox's Empire, is recovering after he was attacked on Tuesday by two unknown men in what was a homophobic and racially-charged incident in Chicago.
The Chicago Police Department said that the television star was walking down a street when he was approached by the men who yelled out racial and homophobic slurs. Smollett was attacked about the face and the men also poured a chemical substance onto him and tied a rope around his neck.
"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," 20th Century Fox Television said in a statement.
Lee Daniels, the co-creator of Empire, posted his thoughts in a video on Instagram. "You didn't deserve, nor anybody deserves to have a noose put around your neck," he said. "You are better than that, we are better than that, America is better than that. It starts at home, it starts at home yo."
"This despicable act only shamefully reveals how deeply the diseases of hatred, inequality, racism and discrimination continue to course through our country's veins," Empire star Lady Grace Byers said alongside a photo of herself with Smollett.
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It’s indisputable that one of Jussie’s purpose-gifts is the ability to unify through love. It’s who he is. It’s what he does. His blazon of light can never - and will never - be diminished, quelled or subdued. This despicable act only shamefully reveals how deeply the diseases of hatred, inequality, racism and discrimination continue to course through our country’s veins. It’s not enough to just share about the unconscionable, heinous and deplorable acts birthed by them - we must shoulder the responsibility and honor of loving one another like never before. We MUST. For without love; we gain nothing, we live for nothing, we become nothing. Praying deeply for our brother as he heals and recovers. Fervently awaiting the moment that these vile, despicable cowards and purveyors of hate and evil are brought to a smoldering justice. Love - and @jussiesmollett’s light, voice and purpose - will never be silenced. Hate will not win. We will rise.
"Your light will continue to shine bright, which is the part these disgusting people fail to realize. I hope you make a speedy recovery and continue to educate, motivate, and inspire millions. Love you big bro," Empire star Serayah said next to a photo of herself standing alongside Smollett.
Steve Harvey offered his support in the form of a video. "As a black man in this country, I'm down with you. I know a lot of brothers that's down with you. This ain't about sexual preference or nothing. This is about coming to the aid of another brother that has tasted the brutality of hatred, racism, and bigotry."
"Stand with my brother @jussiesmollett sending you light and love. Be strong. We got you," Jordan said.
"No matter what's happening around us, @JussieSmollett is ALWAYS quick w/a massive smile & hug. Thats the kind of man he is. The homophobic, racist hate crime against him & hate crimes against countless others cannot stand." Gabrielle Union said.
No matter what's happening around us, @JussieSmollett is ALWAYS quick w/ a massive smile & hug. Thats the kind of man he is. The homophobic, racist hate crime against him & hate crimes against countless others cannot stand. Rebuke hatred any & every time it rears its ugly head.— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) January 29, 2019
Four years ago, @JussieSmollett came out on my show. I’m sending him and his family so much love today. ❤️— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 29, 2019
"This is honestly horrific. Thinking of you @jussiesmollett. Get better and know that you have so many people loving you and supporting you through this difficult time and after," Demi Lovato said on her Instagram story.
"Sending Prayers to @jussiesmollett we hope his attackers are quickly brought to justice," 50 Cent said.
"This is beyond upsetting. What happened to @JussieSmollett is a truly horrible racist, homophobic hate crime. I hope we can find an end to the hate and fear that plagues this country." Reese Witherspoon said.
"I've known Jussie since he was 10 years old, and a man of @JussieSmollett's talent, intellect and kindness should be an undisputed blessing to our community. My heart is hurting knowing that he's suffering...and for what? Just for being?" Berry said.
1/3 - I’ve known Jussie since he was 10 years old, and a man of @JussieSmollett’s talent, intellect and kindness should be an undisputed blessing to our community. My heart is hurting knowing that he’s suffering...and for what? Just for being?— Halle Berry (@halleberry) January 29, 2019
"The fact his presence on this earth would be perceived as a threat to anyone only shows the magnitude of their fear and confusion." she continued.