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Jussie Smollett’s Family Calls ‘Hate Crime’ Attack An Act of ‘Domestic Terrorism’

The "Empire" actor was hospitalized on January 29 after being attacked by two men in Chicago.

Jussie Smollett attends the "Empire" FYC Event in Los Angeles. Smollett, who alleges he was the victim of a brutal racial and homophobic attack, is a former child star who grew up to become a champion of LGBT rights and one of the few actors to play a black gay character on primetime TV. His breakthrough came aboard the hip-hop drama "Empire," playing Jamal Lyon, a talented R&B singer struggling to earn his father's approval and find his place in his dad's music empire. It became one of the biggest network shows to star a gay black characterJussie Smollett-Profile, Los Angeles, USA - 20 May 2016

Jussie Smollett

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Jussie Smollett’s family has issued an official statement reacting to the attack that left Jussie hospitalized earlier this week. The family condemns the attack as “a racial and homophobic hate crime,” saying, “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.”

As confirmed by the Chicago Police Department, Smollett was approached by two “unknown offenders” in the early morning of January 29. The men “yelled racial and homophobic” slurs at the actor. The attackers then began to “batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.” Later, one of the assailants “wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck.”

The Smollett family’s official statement is featured below in its entirety.

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.

With love & gratitude,

The Smollett Family

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