Empire creator Lee Daniels posted an emotional video message to actor Jussie Smollett on Instagram following an attack in which it was reported that two men beat Smollett on a Chicago street, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck while using racist and homophobic slurs.
Said Daniels in the video posted to Instagram: “It’s taken me a minute to come to social media about this because, Jussie, you are my son. 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****r or whatever they said to you. You are better than that. We are better than that. America is better than that. It starts at home. It starts at home, yo. We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are because it shows that we are united on a united front and no racist f**k can come in and do the things that they did to you. Hold your head up, Jussie. I’m with you. I’ll be there in a minute. It’s just another f**king day in America.”
Meanwhile, Chicago Police confirmed to ABC News that the FBI has reportedly joined the investigation into the attack, which is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
TMZ reports: “Sources connected to production tell us Jussie and the rest of the main “Empire” cast members will have armed security going forward while they continue shooting in Chicago. Sources connected to production tell us Jussie and the rest of the main “Empire” cast members will have armed security going forward while they continue shooting in Chicago…Law enforcement sources tell us the FBI was already investigating the letter sent to Jussie last week containing racist and homophobic slurs.”
Yesterday, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said police had expanded the search area for surveillance video in efforts to find any footage of the attack.
Tweeted Guglielmi: “CASE UPDATE: Tonight #ChicagoPolice detectives expanded the search area for cameras to be able to provide photos of the alleged assailants in this attack. Thus far, no video of the alleged assailants or a vehicle has been discovered but we are continuing to broaden our search”
The mood was somber on the set of Empire in Chicago on Tuesday: Deadline reports: ‘Counselors and a SAG-AFTRA representative were made available on the set of the Terrence Howard-Taraji P. Henson series Tuesday to talk with and listen to cast, crew and producers. The intention is that those trauma counselors will continue to maintain a presence on the Windy City-filmed Empire over the coming few weeks as Smollett returns to the show and the law enforcement investigation into the two men who attacked the actor unfolds. Key principals on the show were informed early Tuesday of the racist and homophobic slurs, beating and chemical substance-drenching Smollett endured despite attempting to defend himself. However, the overall Empire set was told collectively by a producer of what had happened to the actor who plays Jamal Lyon on the show.’