Two of the stars from FOX’s hit show Empire are speaking out after co-star Jussie Smollett was victim to a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago.
Actress Taraji P. Henson, who plays Cookie Lyon on the series, took to Instagram on Wednesday to share her sorrows.
"I wish what happened to my baby was just one big bad joke but it wasn’t and we all feel his pain right now," she wrote.
I wish what happened to my baby was just one big bad joke but it wasn’t and we all feel his pain right now. @jussiesmollett is pure love to the bone AND THAT IS WHY SO MANY ARE FEELING… https://t.co/AIaBaDvx7g— Taraji P. Henson (@TherealTaraji) January 30, 2019
As Blavity previously reported, two Trump supporters attacked Smollett on Tuesday in the Windy City.
The 35-year-old was reportedly doused with chemicals, punched multiple times and a noose was forced around his neck in what authorities are investigating as a hate crime.
Additionally, the assailants yelled racist, anti-gay slurs and claimed "this is MAGA country" as they attacked the star outside of his condo building. The FBI has announced it will launch an investigation into a threatening letter addressed to Smollett 10 days ago, concurrent with the Chicago police investigation. Over a week before the attack, the singer and actor reportedly received a threatening note. Security was ramped up on set, and Smollett received extra, round-the-clock protection he stopped because he felt it was too intrusive.
Actor Terrence Howard, who stars as Luscious Lyon on the FOX show, also shared his shock. He spoke to Good Morning America on Wednesday about the disturbing incident.
“Jaws dropped to the ground,” the Law & Order: LA alum told GMA. “And then when we learned there had been letters that had been sent to FOX as threats about the potential of something like this … then we became much more frightened.”
Howard described Smollett as a bright light in dark times.
“Jussie’s the one that starts singing when everybody’s in a bad mood,” Howard continued.
“He’s the one that cheers everybody up,” the actor said about his TV son. “He’s the one that does all the Instagrams if he catches you sleeping. Today, no one was caught sleeping. No one even took time to close their eyes and nap. They were all in shock that our family — you know, the FOX family, the Empire family, the Lyon family — were attacked by a bunch of hyenas today.”
Entertainment Tonight reports the Empire production was temporarily shut down due to frigid temperatures in the city and the attack. Production, however, is expected to resume sometime this week.
Blavitize your inbox! Join our daily newsletter for fresh stories and breaking news.