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Lee Daniels Posts Emotional Reaction to Jussie Smollett Attack: ‘America Is Better Than That’ (Watch)

Lee Daniels, co-creator of “Empire,” posted a strong reaction on Instagram to the assault and suspected hate crime against Jussie Smollett, one of the musical drama’s stars.

“It’s taken me a minute to come to social media about this because, Jussie, you are my son,” he said in a video posted on Tuesday. “You didn’t deserve nor anybody deserves to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you, to be called ‘die f–got n–ga’ or whatever they said to you. You are better than that. We are better than that. America is better than that. It starts at home. It starts at home, yo. We have to love each other regardless of what sexual orientation we are because it shows we are united on a united front and no racist f— can come in and do the things that they did to you. Hold your head up, Jussie. I’m with you. I’ll be there in a minute. It’s just another f—ing day in America.”

Smollett is in “good condition” after two men beat him and yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, according to a statement released by the Chicago Police Department. The men reportedly poured an unknown chemical substance on him and tied a rope around his neck. Smollett was in Chicago preparing to perform at a concert on Saturday.

On “Empire,” Smollett plays a gay character named Jamal Lyon, and the actor came out publicly in 2015.

Following the incident, GLAAD released a statement saying, “GLAAD reached out to Fox and Jussie’s team today to offer assistance as well as support for him. Jussie is a true champion for LGBTQ people and is beloved by the community and allies around the world.”

Fox, the network that houses “Empire,” also released a statement, said it’s “deeply saddened and outraged” by the attack. “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 statement read. “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.”

“Empire” co-creator Danny Strong and producer Eric Haywood have voiced their condemnation of the attack on Smollett on Twitter.

Several actors, like John Legend and Lena Waithe, also sent their support to Smollett and condemned the attackers. Film and TV producer Brian Grazer said in a statement, “I am disgusted and saddened by the attack on Jussie, one of the nicest and most genuine people I have worked with. I send him much love on his recovery. Hate and bigotry have no place in our society.”

Filmmaker Barry Jenkins, Reverend Al Sharpton, and other celebrities denounced the racist and homophobic attackers.

President of the Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin, U.S. senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris, and student activist Cameron Kasky voiced their support.

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