Jussie Smollett, a black and openly gay actor, released a statement this morning after he was attacked while walking down the street in Chicago by two masked assailants that allegedly yelled racist and homophobic slurs while pouring a chemical substance, believed to be bleach, on him and tying a noose around his neck; this was a week after Smollett received a threatening note. The attack is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
In his statement, Smollett wrote that, “as my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily,” the actor said. “I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident.” He also stated that “Despite [his] frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, [he] still believes that justice will be served.”
Smollett checked himself into Northwestern Hospital after the attack and has since been released. The Chicago Police Department stated that “detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline,” but that at this point “no video of the alleged assailants or a vehicle has been discovered.”
Ellen Page addressed the attack on Jussie Smollett and argued that the Trump Administration is responsible for the increased hate crimes and violent attacks. She said, “If you are in a position of power and you hate people and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering, what do you think is going to happen?”
Right-wing violence, especially violence connected to white supremacy, has drastically increased since Donald Trump was elected as president. The number of terror attacks committed by right-wing extremists quadrupled between 2016 and 2017, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Since 2016, reported hate crimes have been on the rise, specifically towards the African American and Jewish communities. Per the FBI, 3 out of every 5 hate crimes targeted the victim’s race or ethnicity. In 2017, African Americans comprised 28% of all hate crime victims and hate crimes against the LGBTQ community have also risen by 3% since 2016.
Media Resources: The Grapevine 1/29/19; CNN 1/30/19, 11/14/16; CBS News 1/30/19; Feminist Newswire 11/23/16; NBC News 11/21/18, 11/14/18; Business Insider 1/24/19; Center for Strategic and International Studies 11/7/18; Buzzfeed 1/1/19; Washington Post 11/25/18