At the end of January, actor Jussie Smollett was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago.
The incident happened at East Lower Water Street, Chicago, at about 2 AM local time, as the actor was leaving a restaurant.
Smollett was treated in hospital following the attack, during which a chemical substance was poured on him, and a rope was wrapped around his neck.
Releasing a statement following the incident, Smollet thanked fans for their support and said that love “can’t be kicked out of me.”
He returned to the stage on 3 February, during the performance Smollett said: “I will always stand for love. I will never stand for anything other than that.”
Investigations into the incident appear to be moving slowly. The FBI are investigating hate mail that was sent to Smollett prior to the attack. However there have been some conflicting statements made by the Chicago police that seemed to raise some doubts as to whether they believed that Smollett had filed a false complaint.
However, from the information that’s currently available, there doesn’t appear to be any reason to doubt Smollett’s account of the attack. Police are currently pursuing two men recorded by nearby security cameras, and are also trying to trace where the rope was purchased from.
Smollett has return to the set of Empire in Chicago and is continuing to assist police with their inquiries.
The Jussie Smollet story
- 21 June 1982
- Smollett grew up in Santa Rosa, California
- Fun fact — the letter J seems to be a big deal in the Smollett family. Jussie’s parents are Janet and Joel, and his siblings are Jake, Jocqui, Jojo, Jurnee, and Jazz.
- Smollett began his career early, landing his first commercials and film roles in 1987.
- Significant roles in those early years were The Mighty Ducks in 1992, and North in 1994.
- In 1994, Smollett starred alongside his five real-life siblings in the ABC sitcom On Our Own.
- In 2012, Smollet was cast in Patrik-Ian Polk’s film The Skinny.
- The film tells the story of five friends who are Brown University classmates as they reunite in New York City for a tumultuous Gay Pride weekend.
- Smollett plays Magnus — an affluent young medical student who is happily in a five-month relationship with his boyfriend.
- In 2014, Smollett was cast as Jamal Lyon in the drama series Empire.
- Created by Lee Daniels, Empire has been a huge success. Starring alongside Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, Smollett has been praised for his portrayal of a gay musician struggling to gain his father’s approval.
- Empire is now in its fifth season.
- Smollett released his first EP in 2012, titled The Poisoned Hearts Club.
- In 2015, Smollett signed a recording contract with Columbia Records.
- Tracks written by Smollett have been featured in episodes of Empire.
- Smollett’s debut album Sum of My Music was released in 2018.