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Jussie Smollett's Family Speaks Out About 'Cowardly' Assault: 'This Was a Racial and Homophobic Hate Crime'

Jussie Smollett Attacked

Two days after Jussie Smollett was physically attacked and hospitalized in Chicago, members of the Empire star’s family have issued a statement, calling the violence a “racial and homophobic hate crime.”

Early Tuesday morning, Smollett was targeted by two offenders who began yelling slurs at him on a Chicago street, according to a report from the Chicago Police Department. The assailants then became physically violent, battering Smollett with their hands, wrapping a rope around his neck and pouring a chemical substance on him before fleeing the scene.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor told police that the offenders “yelled pro-‘Make America Great Again’ [MAGA] comments” during the attack. (On Thursday afternoon, President Trump called the incident “horrible.”)

“We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime,” the statement from Smollett’s family reads. “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… We are so grateful that God saw [Smollett] through this cowardly attack alive.”

The statement goes on to offer support to “our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities,” who have frequently become the targets of “inhumane acts of domestic terrorism.”

There is also evidence to suggest that the attack on Smollett was premeditated. According to a report from That Grape Juice, Smollett had previously received an anonymous death threat in the mail, in which a drawing of him getting shot was accompanied by his name and a homophobic slur.

“Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions,” the Smollett family’s statement continues. “Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall.”

Read the family’s message in full below:

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.