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The horrific attack on Jussie Smollett has reignited the discussion on race and sexuality

The actor was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack this week.

YESTERDAY, NEWS BROKE of a horrific attack on Empire star, Jussie Smollett.

shutterstock_648256777 Source: Shutterstock/JStone

The young star was said to have been hospitalised after an assault took place on Tuesday in Chicago, however, since then, details of the vile attack have reignited to discussion on race and sexuality.

Smollett was approached by two men who shouted homophobic and racial slurs at him in the early hours of the morning yesterday in the city. 

According to police reports, the two alleged attackers “began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim”, the report added:

“At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck.”

After the attackers had fled the scene, Smollett is said to have brought himself to the hospital and is now said to be in “good condition”.

Police are currently working to gather video and identify any potential witnesses.

The stories of Jussie’s attack ran under the headline “suspected hate crime” despite there being an overwhelming amount of evidence that the actor’s sexuality and race played a part in it.

Speaking to police, Smollett told them that his attackers made references to ‘MAGA’ – meaning ‘Make America Great Again’, the campaign slogan used by Donald Trump back in the 2016 election – during the assault.

Since then, it’s being reported by ThatGrapeJuice.net that a threatening letter was sent to Smollett at Fox Studios in Chicago just eight days before the attack.

It read, “You will die black f**”, and had the word ‘MAGA’ on the envelope.

The actor was reportedly asked if he wanted additional security but turned it down.

The news of the horrific attack has lead to an outpouring of love and support for Jussie Smollett online with the hashtag ‘Justice for Jussie’ being used as a symbol of solidarity.

From the cast and crew of the hit Fox show, Empire, to other Hollywood A-listers, many have spoken out against the hate-fueled abuse the 35-year-old suffered.

However, one person is receiving backlash for her post on the issue.

Ellen DeGeneres took to Twitter last night to share her sympathy with the actor, saying:

“Four years ago, Jussie Smollett came out on my show. I’m sending him and his family so much love today.”

Her post has been met with a wall of anger after she recently gave Kevin Hart a platform to defend the homophobic statements he made.

The interview came after Hart stepped away from the opportunity to host this year’s Oscars after they asked him to apologise for old homophobic tweets in which he made comments like “as gay as a billboard for AIDS”, “fat faced f*g” and “If my son comes home and try’s 2 play with my daughters doll house I’m going 2 break it over his head & say n my voice ‘stop that’s gay”(sic).

He refused to apologise because, according to him, he had already dealt with those statements and made his apologies. 

Giving him the chance to tell his side of the story – was there a side we were missing? – Ellen firmly stated that she forgave him for his comments and wanted to give him a second chance and therefore expected many of her viewers to do the same after letting him play the victim in a lengthy interview. 

The interview was slammed by CNN anchor Don Lemon, who even made reference to Jussie Smollett’s character in Empire during his segment and how comments like Hart’s can have a hugely damaging effect. 

“Somewhere, a black dad is beating his black son. The same way it happened to my friend, Oscar nominated director Lee Daniels, who through his TV show Empire portrayed how, as a little boy, his dad threw him in a trash can for wearing heels.

Took him out of the house and threw him in the trash can. That’s a reality for a lot of little boys.”

Source: CNN/YouTube

Many have referenced Kevin’s statements on Twitter since the news of Smollett’s attack and since then, the comedian himself has posted about it.

“WTF is going on in the world?” he asked. “Why are we falling in love with hate? Choose love, I repeat, choose love.

“I will forever choose love and I will continue to teach my kids how to do the same.”

Unsurprisingly, Hart too is feeling the Twitter backlash after his post, with the majority of the comments being some variation of an eye-roll emoji.

The vicious attack on Jussie Smollett has reignited the conversation on race, sexuality and tolerance, but it deserves a lot more attention than the ‘five minutes of fame’ a hashtag might give it. 

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