On Tuesday, January 29, the internet was horrified by news of the vicious hate crime committed against Empire actor Jussie Smollett.
He was beaten, called racist and homophobic slurs, doused with bleach, and a noose was wrapped around his neck.
During the assault, the monsters said to him: "This is MAGA country." Unspeakable.
Jussie was hospitalized for multiple injuries, including a cracked rib from the beating.
It turns out that just over a week ago, his life was threatened in a hateful letter that may be linked to the crime itself.
Police are investigating it as a "possible" hate crime (that's legal jargon for definitely a hate crime).
In the mean time, celebrities are in the same place as the rest of us: shocked, angry, and wondering what they can do.
They have taken to social media to voice their support for him and openly wonder at the evil in some people's hearts.
Jussie Smollett is Lucky to be Alive
Jussie was attacked at 2am outside of a Chicago Subway on Tuesday, January 29. He was beaten by two men, who yelled both racist and homophobic slurs at him and identified him from his role on Empire. He was doused with an "unknown chemical substance," believed to be bleach, and a noose was wrapped around his neck. He was hospitalized but released later that day. One of his injuries was a cracked rib.
Police are on the case
TMZ reports that they've already acquired some CCTV footage within 12 hours of the assault, and are looking to obtain more, as well as speak to potential eyewitnesses. In the mean time, celebrities feel just like his friends do -- utterly hopeless in the face of such an evil attack. And so they are tweeting their support for him, expressing shock, anger, love, and even hope.
Spider-Man actress Zendaya was one of the first stars to tweet her horror at what happened.
Viola Davis is one of the most acclaimed black actresses in film or on television.
Janet Mock is a famous trans woman, and she is also a black woman. She knows as well as Jussie does how dangerous the world can be for those who are both black and LGBTQ+. Like Jussie, she has two targets on her back.
Andy is one of the most famous gay men on the planet. This attack was a sobering reminder to everyone that an attack like this can not only happen to someone famous -- it can happen BECAUSE someone is famous.
Candice plays the beautiful Iris West on The Flash, a show that features LGBTQ+ characters, stars, and of course a gay creator, Greg Berlanti. She is also a black woman. Hate crimes are real, and the noose is a palpable symbol of racist violence.
Billy is arguably one of the most famous gay comedians out there, and he is not one to mince words.
The star of Scandal knows better than many what it is like to be black, on television, and outspoken. We all share her sense of disbelief.
Whether you know him from Magic Mike, White Collar, American Horror Story, or his upcoming role on Doom Patrol, Matt Bomer famously came out of the closet several years ago. Any out gay actor knows that they could be a target for a bigot's hatred.
John Legend, known for his music, his resemblance to "Arthur," and for being Chrissy Teigen's husband, is a compassionate man and a steadfast ally -- who also knows what it's like to be hated by racists. He has never shied away from political commentary.
This actress, best known for her roles on True Blood and on The 100, was as shocked and heartbroken at this news as the rest of us.
She was a gay icon years before she came out as bi. Margaret Cho has been targeted online and professionally by racists and homophobes for years.
This stunning and talented actress is not only an ally, but she knows firsthand how much some people hate black women. Racist trolls drove her off of Instagram after her casting on the DC Universe app's hit live-action series Titans was announced. Critics and viewers praised her as the best part of the series.
The most successful, most highly-paid, biggest name in creating and running successful, addictive, must-see television, Shonda is a black woman who has never blinked at discussing marginalized communities or race. Many of her characters are people of color, LGBTQ+, or both.
Andrew Gillum may have lost his race for governorship of Florida, by a slim measure, but he's both a black man and an ally.
Mindy's tweet may come across as a little formal, but not everyone is good at sounding personal, especially in the face of such horror. Better to speak out stiffly than to say nothing at all.
An actor probably best known for his role on all seven seasons of The Closer, Corey Reynolds is also deeply passionate about politics, and is as bewildered as everyone that our legal system waits to call hate crimes what they are.
The Haitian-American actress and model, who is best known for her role on The Jaimie Foxx Show, extended her shock and her sympathies.
A senior writer for Rolling Stone, Jamil makes an excellent point -- too many people will shy away from calling this vicious attack what it is.
The Star Trek star, voice actor, and activist is famously gay. He also grew up in an internment camp. Racism isn't just part of his reality -- it defined his childhood.
This comedian, actor, and screenwriter speaks for all of us when he says this.
Andy is an actor, musician, and writer, possibly best recognized for having played Pied Piper on The Flash as one of the show's multiple LGBTQ+ characters. He himself is gay.
Jaqueline Yvonne Harry is an actress, singer, comedian, director, and television personality. Let's hope that her words are true.
This stand-up comedian has some excellent advice. Outrage and expressions of support aren't meaningless, but donating to organizations that help black and LGBTQ+ communities are a concrete way of rendering assistance to those who need it the most.