On Tuesday morning, Empire star Jussie Smollet, who plays the gay musician Jamal Lyon who he himself identifies as gay in real life, was hospitalized following an assault in Chicago that law enforcement described as a possible hate crime. According to a statement released by the Chicago Police Department, Smollett was beaten by two males who approached him while yelling “racial and homophobic slurs” at around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning in the 300 block of E. North Water Street. Since then, stars, executives, political advocates, and advocacy groups of come to his aid. Including FOX, who issued their own statement: “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 stand united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate — and especially against one of our own.”
In addition to that, Empire co-creators Danny Strong and Lee Daniels both shared their thoughts via social media, Daniels on Instagram and Strong on Twitter. Both of those statements can be seen and read down below:
…whoever did this, do not forget that you are nothing but hate filled cowards while Jussie’s talent and activism will continue to shine a bright light on to the world for decades to come.
— Danny Strong (@Dannystrong) January 29, 2019
On top of that, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and the Anti-Defamation League have to come on his behalf, and now, per the Hollywood Reporter, several LGBTQIA and black activist organizations as well as New York City-based non-profits are planning to hold a rally of support for the young actor and other survivors of LGBTQIA violence. On Thursday, organizations including The New York City Anti-Violence Project and Voices of Community Activists and Leaders (VOCAL) announced that they would hold the “solidarity rally” on Friday, Feb. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. ET.
Other organizations involved in the rally include Queerocracy, the AIDS Center of Queens County, ACT-UP, BYP100, The Trevor Project, and many others will share stories of fear, pain, and anger to address violence that inflicts LGBTQIA people, and especially queer people of color, as the support for Jussie Smollett continues to pour out in what has become a stand of solidarity.