AceShowbiz - Jussie Smollett's injured face after a racist, homophobic attack is accidentally revealed by Lee Daniels. The "Empire" creator posted and then deleted a screengrab from a FaceTime with the actor, who is lying in the hospital bed.
In the photo that has circulated online, the 36-year-old singer's face appears swollen and he sports a cut under his right eye. He also sustained a fractured rib from the attack, according to TMZ, but it's not shown in the picture.
Smollett was assaulted by two men who wore ski masks and hurled racist and homophobic epithets at him on Tuesday, January 29. He was walking outside a Subway shop in Chicago, when the attackers approached him and specifically called out, "Aren't you that f****t 'Empire'." The assailants reportedly also yelled out, "This is MAGA country."
The men then began to "batter" Smollett's face, poured an unknown chemical substance on him, and tied a noose around his neck. They fled the scene and Smollett took himself to Northwestern Hospital. Chicago Police Department confirm he's now "in good condition." CNN reported that the openly gay actor fought back at the assailants during the attack. He was shaken and angry that an attack like this could happen.
Police said in a statement that they "are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime." They have been checking security cameras around the neighborhood where the incident took place.
Eight days before the attack, Smollett received a threatening letter addressed to Chicago's Fox Studios. The letter, which photo is obtained by TheGrapeJuice.net, reads, "You will die black f**," with Smollett's full name written on the envelope.
Following the hate attack, fellow celebrities like Vivica A. Fox, Zendaya Coleman, Ariana Grande, Halle Berry, John Legend, Lee Daniels and Shonda Rhimes have sent support to the actor. Grande tweeted, "what happened to jussie makes me really f***ing sick to my stomach. i can't believe s**t like this is really still happening everyday. what kind of world ? sending all of the healing energy / love i possibly can and hoping for change. what can we do ? tell me & i'm there."
what happened to jussie makes me really fucking sick to my stomach. i can’t believe shit like this is really still happening everyday. what kind of world ? sending all of the healing energy / love i possibly can and hoping for change. what can we do ? tell me & i’m there.— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) January 29, 2019
Daniels said in an emotional video, "You didn't deserve 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." He added, "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."
Fox said in a statement, "We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our 'Empire' family, 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."
The studio plans to continue production on "Empire" despite the attack on Smollett. A source says the show's production schedule remains "fluid" for the rest of the week. It's currently unknown if the actor's injuries will have impact on the show's production of the current season.