Jussie Smollett Returns to Work on ‘Empire’ Set After Homophobic and Racist Attack


Ready for his comeback? Jussie Smollett is back at work on the set of Empire following an alleged homophobic and racist attack against him, a source confirms to Us Weekly.

As the 36-year-old actor returns to set, detectives “continue to investigate,” Chicago Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Bryk tells Us.

Jussie Smollett Returns Empire Set After Homophobic Attack
Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett on the set of ‘Empire.’ FOX via Getty Images

TMZ reported on Wednesday, February 6, that Smollett filmed a scene for one of season 5’s final episodes on Monday, February 4, and participated in a cast table read on Tuesday, February 5. According to the website, security stayed nearby at all times.

The Mighty Ducks star, who came out as gay in 2015, was hospitalized in Chicago on January 29 after a “possible hate crime,” Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed to Us at the time. According to Guglielmi, he was approached by two people who were “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs toward him. The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim. At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck.”

Jussie Smollett Returns Empire Set After Homophobic Attack
Jussie Smollett arrives at The Paley Center For Media’s 33rd Annual PALEYFEST Los Angeles ‘Empire’ at Dolby Theatre on March 11, 2016. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

His assailants fled the scene and Smollett was able to take himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The Alien: Covenant actor performed at a concert in West Hollywood on Saturday, February 2. “I had to be here tonight, y’all. I can’t let [them] win,” he told the crowd. “I will always stand for love. I will only stand for love.” A meet and greet before the event was canceled due to security concerns.

Guglielmi told Us in a statement on January 30 that police “located a surveillance camera that shows potential persons of interest wanted for questioning in reference to the assault and battery” of Smollett. However, no arrests have been made yet.

Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard were among the Empire cast members who vocalized their support for Smollett following the attack. The Marshall actor has starred on the Fox drama for five seasons as Jamal Lyon.

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