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A Deeper Look At The Investigation Of The Attack On “Empire” Star, Jussie Smollett

By Craig Clizbe  Update: February 1, 2019: Jussie Smollett has broken his silence since being assaulted on early Tuesday morning. See Jussie’s complete statement below, followed by the original post, published on January 31, 2019.

Jussie Smollett Full Statement

Beautiful People, Let me start by saying that I’m ok. My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words. I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served. As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident but I need a moment to process. Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It’s all I know. And that can’t be kicked out of me. With Love, respect & honor… Jussie.

  ORIGINAL POST FROM JANUARY 31, 2019 There have been more developments in the news of the attack on Empire singer/actor, Jussie Smollett, that occurred in Chicago on early Tuesday morning. ABC 7 Eyewitness News Chicago reporter, Rob Elgas says that authorities now have what they are calling “persons of interest” in the investigation. Surveillance video captured these two men who are said to be involved with the attack on Smollett in the Streeterville neighborhood, Chicago police said Wednesday afternoon. Chicago police released the photos late Wednesday. The photos show two silhouettes on New Street near Illinois between 1:30 am and 1:45 am. Tuesday.

Related Media 

ABC 7 Eyewitness News Coverage 

WLS-TV ABC 7 Chicago

Coverage of this story started on Tuesday after and later reported on the tragic news of the attack that is now being investigated as a hate crime. As stated in that original reporting, Jussie Smollett was the victim of brutal homophobic attack in the early morning hours on January 29th.

The story goes that Smollett was attacked while on his way home in Chicago after flying home from New York City. After the initial exclusive from, TMZ later reported that sources directly connected to Jussie have said that the actor arrived in Chicago from New York late Monday night, and he was hungry and went to a Subway sandwich shop around 2am.  Then, he was attacked by 2 men on his way home. TMZ continued to report that their sources tell them that someone then yelled, “Aren’t you that f***ot ‘Empire’ n*****?” That came from two white men wearing ski masks who viciously attacked him. Smollett fought back, but was beaten badly, leaving him with a fractured a rib. They also put a rope around his neck, and poured a substance over his head that was believed to be bleach.

TMZ also reported a key detail about what was said during the attack. As they carried out the homophobic and racially charged attack they yelled, “This is MAGA country.” These reports were later backed by Jussie Smollett’s music manager, Brandon Z. Moore in Variety, “I heard that clearly. I heard the scuffle and I heard the racial slur,” Moore said. After the attack was over Jussie Smollett then took himself to the hospital soon after. The original report from reported that the attack came 8 days after threatening letters were mailed to Fox’s Chicago studios. As you can see in the photo, the letters read, “You will die black f**.”

Thatgrapejuice Jussiie

Smollett is an openly gay actor and singer that plays the openly gay character, musician Jamal Lyon, the son of Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) on Empire.

Related Media 

Jussie Smollett Talks About Being Openly Gay On TV 

From  The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2015)

A Very Good Production/Telepictures Productions/The E.W. Scripps Company/WAD Productions/Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Jussie Smollett

“Good Enough”

From  The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2015)

A Very Good Production/Telepictures Productions/The E.W. Scripps Company/WAD Productions/Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Jussie Smollett

“Good Enough” (Official Music Video)

From Empire (Original Soundtrack From Season One)

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Columbia Records



Jussie Smollett

“You’re So Beautiful” (Episode Clip)

From Empire Season One Episode 8 “The Lyon’s Roar”

(Episode Written By Danny Strong)

Imagine Televison/Lee Daniels Entertainment/Danny Strong Productions/Chicken Little Inc./20th Century Fox Television

After word of the attack hit the news cycle, various people connected to Smollett, Empire and the Fox Network have reacted to the alleged hate crime. 20thCentury Fox Television issued the following statement. ““We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our Empirefamily, 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 stands united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate — and especially against one of our own,” Empire producers, creators and cast members also reacted to the attack.

Empire Executive Producer: Brian Grazer: “I am disgusted and saddened by the attack on Jussie, one of the nicest and most genuine people I have worked with. I send him much love on his recovery. Hate and bigotry have no place in our society.”

Empire Co-Creator/Executive Producer: Lee Daniels “It’s taken me a minute to come to social media about this because, Jussie, you are my son. You didn’t deserve, nor anyone deserves, to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you, to be called die f*ggot n*gger 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. We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are. Because it shows we are united on a united front, and no racist f*ck 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, because it’s just another f*cking day in America.”

Empire Co-Creator/Executive Producer: Danny Strong “I’m deeply horrified and saddened by the racist and homophobic attacks against @JussieSmollett. He is a kind and profoundly talented soul whom I respect with all my heart. The terror of racism and homophobia has no place in our society, it is the most indecent way to live 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.”   

Brian Gazer And Ron Howard Of Imagine Entertainment On TMZ
(One of Empire’s production companies)

Jussie Smollett’s on-screen father, Terrence Howard appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America  on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 to comment on the attack. That coverage was recapped by ET Canada, giving  their commentary that also included supportive statements from comedian/actor, Kevin Hart and Smollett’s on-screen mother, Taraji P. Henson.

Kevin Hart, Terrence Howard And  Taraji P. Henson Support Jussie Smollett

ET Canada

Since the attack, a January 30th report from Variety has revealed that production on Empire has resumed in Chicago. Variety’s Elaine Lowe reported that sources connected to the production have told them that the schedule has remained “fluid”  through the remainder of the week. Since the news of the attack broke, many Trump supporters have expressed skepticism about the story’s legitimacy. This is especially due to the quote of “This Is MAGA Country” being said in the very Democratic city of Chicago. However, in that previously referenced ABC 7 Chicago report, it was said that this came from Jussie Smollett’s music manager, Brandon Z. Moore. That report continues to say the following. “Chicago police confirmed they have spoken to Moore and his account is noted in the police report. Police said Moore and Smollett both said they were on the phone with each other at the time of the attack.” Moore’s quote about “This Is MAGA Country” was also referenced in the original story published by Fox, despite Fox News’ conservative personality, Tomi Lahren  tweeting a link not related to Fox  News saying the opposite.

Eventually President Trump did end up commenting on the attack when speaking on immigration in The Oval Office earlier today. (Thursday January 31, 2019) “That I can tell you is horrible. I’ve seen it … last night. It doesn’t get worse, as far as I’m concerned.”

President Trump Comments On Jussie Smollett Attack 

TMZ Courtesy Of ABC News

  As a part of the Fox family via Empire Jussie Smollett and his family have issued the following statement to Fox News on Thursday afternoon.

“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,”

As fans and supporters of Jussie Smollett and Empire, we at are sincerely wishing Jussie, his family, and all those affected by this attack the best. We send our support and hope to watch Jussie continue to be successful in sharing his talent with the world.