Openly gay, black actor Jussie Smollett, best known for his role on the hit Fox show "Empire," was reportedly assaulted Tuesday morning in Chicago by two men and upon hearing the news, many in the Christain community took to social media to condemn the “hate crime.”
The police are currently investigating the attack as a hate crime since the alleged assailants poured a "chemical substance" on Smollett and put a noose around his neck while making racist and homophobic slurs. The media immediately jumped on allegations which appeared on TMZ, claiming that the “white” perpetrators yelled "this is MAGA country," as they attacked Smollett.
Chicago PD initially reported that there was no mention of “MAGA," but according to an update shared on Reason.com "when detectives follow[ed] up with him (Smollett) later in the day, he recalled the offender[s] making those comments and detectives completed a supplemental report."
President Trump’s evangelical adviser, the Rev. Samuel Rodriquez, who serves as president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, condemned the attack.
“No! Unacceptable! We are all created in God’s image. All vestiges of hatred must be confronted and as Christians, we must lead the way. Let us push back the darkness of hatred and intolerance with the light of hope and love, in Jesus name,” he wrote on Instagram Wednesday. “Silence is not an option. Join me and #prayforJussieSmollett and his family.”
“Fuller House” actress and outspoken Hollywood Christian Candace Cameron Bure also shared a photo of Smollett and wrote, “Oh man, @jussiesmollett we love you and are praying for complete and total healing. This breaks my heart.”
Worship leader Israel Houghton addressed the matter in a passionate post to the church.
“Prayers up for @jussiesmollett & his family. Praying for Justice. Praying for America. Praying that LOVE triumphs over HATE & FEAR,” Houghton wrote on Instagram.
“Praying for the Church to wake up, shake off politics & be the Christ followers that we say we are. Speak out against the power that gives voice to polarizing hate & prejudice. It’s the Church’s most powerful moment in time if we’ll be courageous to do the right thing with it. Love God. Love People. #EndViolence#JustLove,” he added.
Anthony Guglielmi, chief communications officer for the Chicago Police, released photos of "people of interest who were in area of the alleged assault & battery of Empire cast member." Surveillance footage does not show the alleged encounter but "detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed."
TMZ was among the first to report details of the incident along with a photo of a beaten Smollett while in the hospital. Citing sources connected to Smollett, TMZ reported that after arriving in Chicago on Monday, he went to Subway around 2 a.m. because he was hungry. On his way back home, someone yelled, "Aren't you that f***ot 'Empire' n*****?"
The sources said two men, described as white and with ski masks, attacked the actor, put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him and yelled, "This is MAGA country."
Jussie took himself to Northwestern Memorial where he was treated. The 36-year-old was discharged later Tuesday morning and is reportedly in good condition.
Smollett is in Chicago filming for the fifth season of “Empire.” A spokesman for the actor said the FBI is also investigating letters sent to FOX studio last week threatening Smollett.