Celebrities and lawmakers showed an outpouring of love and support for actor and LGBT rights advocate Jussie Smollett on Wednesday after he was allegedly attacked in a possible hate crime in Chicago.
Taraji P. Henson, his "Empire" co-star who plays his mother on the show, shared a heartbreaking note on Instagram, writing that she wished what happened to Smollett was "just one big bad joke."
"We all feel his pain right now," she added. "@jussiesmollett is pure love to the bone AND THAT IS WHY SO MANY ARE FEELING HIS PAIN BECAUSE IT IS OUR PAIN!!! I tell you one thing HATE WILL NOT WIN!!!!"
The acclaimed actress and producer explained how her "baby" is resilient and will be back from this horrible incident.
"Love still lives in him," she added. "The love so many have him just goes to show HE IS LOVE!!!! ... I LOVE YOU MY BABY MY BABY!!!"
Other superstars like Janet Jackson, Cher and Ellen DeGeneres also tweeted words of encouragement for the 36-year-old "Empire" actor after news broke that he'd been attacked by two men who allegedly placed a noose around his neck.
Jackson posted an image of herself and Smollett on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, telling the actor that she was sending him love and prayers along with a purple heart emoji.
DeGeneres also showed her support for Smollett.
"Four years ago, @JussieSmollett came out on my show. I’m sending him and his family so much love today," she tweeted.
Four years ago, @JussieSmollett came out on my show. I’m sending him and his family so much love today. ??— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 29, 2019
Cher struck a much more serious chord in her tweet, calling the attack a example of the "villainy, racism and homophobia" that's plaguing America.
Jussie Smollett,’Empire' Actor, Reportedly Attacked In Possible Hate Crime.NPR. VILLAINY, RACISM,HOMOPHOBIA, PROMOTED BY MOST INFAMOUS ??IN ??,IS THE POISON THAT KILLS????.WHITE ONLY IS NOT RIGHT.???? IS PPL OF COLOR.????GOP GOES DOWN WITH SHIP djt— Cher (@cher) January 30, 2019
Author and "Fix My Life" coach Iyanla Vanzant struck a similar tone in her tweet on Tuesday.
"Let us call 'a thing' a 'thing'! A noose around the neck is for lynching. Bleach turns black to white," Vanzant said. "Whether or not it was MAGA, it was violent and racist and homophobic- - - PERIOD! Lift Jussie in prayer and find the racist homophobes -PERIOD!"
Well-known lawmakers and politicians, including Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and former Vice President Joe Biden, also tweeted support for Smollett, while others used the moment as opportunity to speak out against racism and homophobia.
"Jussie is my friend - a very talented & beautiful human being. It is so hurtful that homophobic haters would dare hurt someone so loving and giving," Waters said in a tweet. "I'm dedicated to finding the culprits and bringing them to justice. Jussie did not deserve to be harmed by anyone!"
Jussie is my friend - a very talented & beautiful human being. It is so hurtful that homophobic haters would dare hurt someone so loving and giving. I'm dedicated to finding the culprits and bringing them to justice. Jussie did not deserve to be harmed by anyone!— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) January 30, 2019
"The racist, homophobic attack on @JussieSmollett is an affront to our humanity. No one should be attacked for who they are or whom they love," Pelosi added in a tweet of her own. "I pray that Jussie has a speedy recovery & that justice is served. May we all commit to ending this hate once & for all," Pelosi added in a tweet of her own.
What happened today to @JussieSmollett must never be tolerated in this country. We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie. https://t.co/o8ilPu68CM— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 30, 2019
Smollett was treated and released from a Chicago-area hospital after the Tuesday morning attack and was reportedly recovering at home.
The singer told police the men hit him, poured "an unknown chemical substance" on him (possibly bleach), and wrapped a rope around his neck, Smollett told police. The rope was still around Smollett's neck when he was found, officials said.
In a follow-up interview later, he told investigators that the suspects yelled "MAGA country" during the attack.
Here's a look at some of the other politicians and Hollywood stars who condemned the violent attack.
Viola Davis, Oscar-winning actress, "The Help"
OMG!! THIS is why the LGBTQ community continue to fight to be seen and PROTECTED against hate!— Viola Davis (@violadavis) January 29, 2019
We ALL have to take this racist and homophobic act of violence very personally! My arms are around you @jussiesmollett. You are loved! https://t.co/bprDZ3Luah
Adam Rippon, US Olympic figure skater
What happened to Jussie has me feeling so upset. I dont want to believe that we still live in a world where attacks like this can happen. Jussie, I don’t know you, but I love you. The men that attached him are disgusting. They are monsters.— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) January 30, 2019
Michael B. Jordan, actor, "Black Panther"
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
The racist and homophobic attack on Jussie Smollett is a horrific instance of the surging hostility toward minorities around the country. We must come together to eradicate all forms of bigotry and violence. https://t.co/2accVEJrCG— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 29, 2019
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y.
New York State calls this attack on Jussie Smollett what it is — a hate crime. Homophobia and racism will not be tolerated — not now, not ever. https://t.co/h6wDa7SVsX— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 30, 2019
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.
This is a truly awful hate crime that has no place anywhere in this nation. No one should be attacked because of the color of their skin or who they love. Jussie, please know that many people across IL and our country are sending love your way. https://t.co/Aui0M5q9Ne— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) January 30, 2019
Regina King, actress, "If Beale Street Could Talk"
Yes Viola! Hate filled people are being emboldened and we should take it personally. Special prayers up to Jussie and anyone else who has had to witness hate on this level https://t.co/wv8UFxRVkx— Regina King (@ReginaKing) January 29, 2019
John Legend, Grammy-winning R&B singer
Sending love to Jussie and the Smollett family after this horrific attack. We support you and pray that you find peace and justice.— John Legend (@johnlegend) January 29, 2019