The violent assault on Jussie Smollet in Chicago on early Tuesday morning has reportedly left the cast and crew of Empire shocked and looking for answers.
“This horrible attack was on one of our own, in our town,” an insider on the hip-hop drama told Deadline on Wednesday. “Everyone’s behind Jussie 100%, and he’s the first priority, but people need to process what happened to him too,” according to Deadline’s source.
Following the incident, Fox issued a statement, “We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our EMPIRE family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night. 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 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.”
Deadline also reports SAG-AFTRA representatives were made available on the set of Empire to talk and listen to cast, crew, and producers. The goal is that those trauma counselors will continue to maintain a presence on the Chicago-filmed Empire over the coming few weeks as Smollett returns to the show and law enforcement investigation into the two men who attacked the actor.
Leading actors on the show were informed early Tuesday of the violent assault, homophobic slurs and pouring chemicals on Jussie Smollet.
Smollett was supposed to be on set for filming on Empire’s fifth season this week. Following a short stay at Northwestern Hospital, Smollet is said to be okay following the violent assault. His planned February 2nd concert at The Troubadour in West Hollywood was removed from the club’s schedule.
Depending on his recovery the cold weather conditions in Chicago, the actor could return to filming by next week.
Chicago detectives are working with the FBI to investigate the possible “hate crime.” That said, nothing has been said publicly.