Jussie Smollett declined Fox Studio’s offer of extra security last week

2018 Fox Network Upfront

Very early Tuesday morning, Empire star Jussie Smollett was brutally assaulted in Chicago. It’s looking more and more like he was targeted specifically, and that he was targeted because he is an African-American gay man. ThatGrapeJuice.Net was the first to publish a photo of a death threat sent to Smollett last week, which had cut-out letters spelling out “you will die black f-g.” “MAGA” also appeared on the letter. The FBI are investigating that part, because it was a death threat sent through the US Postal Service (meaning, a federal crime).

As for the confusion about the ski-mask-wearing assailants and whether they shouted something about how this is “MAGA country,” at first TMZ was the first and only outlet to publish/confirm that information. According to the Chicago PD’s spokesperson, Smollett didn’t say anything about his assailants saying “MAGA country” in the first, initial interview, but in a follow-up interview, Smollett did confirm it. And here’s something that made me sick to my stomach… the assailants jumped him, poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck. Beaten and battered, Smollett got himself to the hospital with the noose still around his neck. The noose is in police evidence now and it’s being analyzed for evidence.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot of conversation about security and “why was he out alone at 2 am” and all of that. First of all, please don’t victim-blame. It’s not his fault. He was traveling from New York to Chicago, he got in late and he was hungry. As for why Fox Studios didn’t demand that he have security… they offered, and he declined last week, which I also understand. He probably thought the death threat was nothing, and let’s be real: all celebrities are probably used to getting deranged threats, and most of them just shrug it off too.

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett didn’t want to be encumbered by an entourage of bodyguards when he wasn’t working … despite an offer by Fox a week before the brutal attack. Sources close to the situation tell us … security for the “Empire” cast was increased last week after Fox Studios, in Chicago, received that threatening, homophobic letter addressed to Smollett.

We’re told Fox made the call to beef up security for everyone on set and wanted to give Jussie additional protection around the clock … but, he declined. Our sources say he made the decision to not have extra security during off-hours because it was an intrusive way of living. Our “Empire” production sources tell us Jussie will have 24/7 armed security going forward … at least until the 2 thugs are apprehended.

Smollett missed shooting on Tuesday as he recovered from his injuries, but we’re told he plans to return soon, and the show will go on as planned … although, the shooting schedule will be reshuffled to accommodate Jussie.

[From TMZ]

As I said, I understand why he refused the security initially – he didn’t want to live like that, and he probably thought the death threat was just some dumb sh-t that wouldn’t amount to anything.

One last thing: can we, as a society, stop calling things “racially charged” when something is RACIST. When someone says the n-word, it’s not “racially charged” or “racial language.” It’s racist. It’s okay to properly identify a hate crime as a hate crime.

Choir Boy Opening Night - Arrivals.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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54 Responses to “Jussie Smollett declined Fox Studio’s offer of extra security last week”

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  1. EJW says:

    AOC is spot on.

    • Otaku fairy... says:

      She is. When this news broke yesterday, there were people on other sites were saying how unfair it was that assumptions were made about the ‘political ‘ positions and race of who was behind the attack. Not surprising at all that it’s exactly what was thought. I believe Jussie.

    • LahdidahBaby says:

      AOC tells it like it is. I’m tired of people in public life soft-pedalling everything that’s unpleasant. Nothing’s gonna get dealt with if we don’t face it head on and speak truth to hate when it happens!

  2. Mia4s says:

    It’s awful to say, but with how all encompassing social media is now and how faux-accessible it makes celebrities, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often. Just horrifying.

    And you’re right I’m sure most celebrities get dozens of threats (hell, just read almost anyone’s twitter feed). I think celebrities need to be more careful for the next little while. I worry about copy cats, particularly as long as these bastards are still free and unknown.

  3. Shrute’s beet farm says:

    Really smart of him to leave the rope as it was so it could be photographed and examined for any potential evidence.

    This story just makes me so mad. I realize there are people in the world who don’t want to embrace other races or sexualities, as sad as that is, but why not just leave them alone? Why terrorize someone just going about their day? These men had evil hearts.

    • Otaku fairy... says:

      Because they’re so convinced of the ‘rightness’ of their racism and homophobia. You’re right about it being good that he kept that as evidence. Even more people would be calling it came news if he hadn’t.

  4. PhillyGal says:

    I wish he had had a bodyguard with him, especially since the studio thought the threat was serious enough to offer protection. Better safe than sorry.

  5. Abby says:

    ah, this is so sad and infuriating. I just… don’t even have words.

  6. Esmom says:

    I’m glad to hear the studio offered him security after the mail threat. I get why he’d turn it down but it’s too bad he did. I’m just so sickened imagining his terror. Wishing him healing and peace. And I hope the POS perps are found soon and locked up for a very long time.

  7. Dttimes2 says:

    Wow i was just at TMZ reading comments ( ya not going there again). Soooo many say its fake news…ummm so he put the noose on himself? Then there was the video of a very large male assaulting 2 women in LA while others just stood there. Is this what we’ve become????

    • Kitten says:

      I was losing my mind yesterday yelling at people who were saying he made this up.

      “He was just at Kamala Harris’s rally. This is obviously a set-up to make Trump look bad”.

      Um, really? A talented actor on a hit tv show is going to risk his career and public blowback just to send a message about Trump? Ok sure. Except No. WHY would he make this up? What is the possible pay-off for such a huge risk? And it’s not like we need him to show that Trump’s supporters are racist. We know they are. Most of us have always known.

      “It was Chicago. That is NOT ‘MAGA Country’”.

      Newsflash: there are white people living in Chicago and yes, some are racist. Chicago and other blue cities (like my city Boston) are NOT immune to racist, homophobic acts of hate.

      “Why would he be walking around a dangerous neighborhood in -2 degree weather late at night?”

      Because he was hungry. Because he probably doesn’t feel scared or uncomfortable in a city that he has spent plenty of time in. I mean, are we REALLY suggesting that it’s so bizarre someone might venture out into the city in search of late-night eats?

      Why not just admit that you don’t believe him because he’s black? No need to twist yourself in knots trying to think of reasons why he would fake this whole thing.

      Gah. I hate MAGA Twitter so much. They are just the WORST effin people.

      • Yup, Me says:

        Have you heard Black comedians talk about Boston? It’s very telling.

        And the Chicago PD can tell you, they’ve definitely got some MAGA maggots in their midst.

        It’s a trip how deliberately obtuse people can be- but white people are the most segregated racial group in the US, so it makes sense that there are so many pockets of glaring ignorace.

      • jwoolman says:

        They really think he broke his own ribs?!?

      • Veronica S. says:

        If anything, I’d think targeting him in a “blue” city is part of their tactic. The purpose of racial terrorism is to instill constant fear. That’s why you attack in what are traditionally considered “safe” areas – make it so black and brown people know they aren’t welcome anywhere.

      • Bettyrose says:

        I too was shocked that it happened in Chicago, but not disbelieving. He was targeted. The assailants could have come from anywhere, but as discusssd on last night’s thread, there are solid pockets of MAGAt hate right in Chicago.

      • isabelle says:

        The FBI has an extensive report on how white Nationalism has invaded local police forces. It isn’t a conspiracy, the FBI is concerned about it.

      • Kebbie says:

        I’ve got family in Chicago and this honestly didn’t surprise me at all. And I’ve heard a lot of stories about Boston. I’m surprised people are surprised at how racist cities in the NE and Midwest can be.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        That’s part of the danger of Trump. His rhetoric has made people feel much more comfortable showing their racism, even in “blue” areas. In 2018 there was a group of “Proud Boys” that were going around Los Angeles trying to cause trouble, so local bars had to come up with policies for their staff on how to handle these groups. They look for ways to get violent and seek out confrontation.

      • Anna says:

        And on top of that, consider the horrific history of the noose in this country, how would a Black person ever put one around their own neck for any reason. I just can’t imagine it.

      • Christina says:

        The conspiracies will be that he made it up until the police locate surveillance pics or footage. The trolls don’t believe him because he is Black. They do want to find liberals willing to fake stuff for our cause. If the officers im charge of the investigation don’t want to find footage, they won’t. I am
        Hoping that this case is big enough that a coverup to smear Jussie won’t happen.

    • Tiffany says:

      “Is this what we’ve become????”

      @ Dttimes2 Ummm….this is what we always were, not there is just camera proof.

      • isabelle says:

        Preach. No one has to tell minorities this is suddenly a problem. It has always existed but comfortable secure white people are finally seeing it because of social media. Sad that is what it has taken to wake people up.

      • me says:

        I know right? Why are people so shocked? POC and those of the LGBTQ community have dealt with hate since FOREVER. This is not new to any of us.

    • isabelle says:

      I was once certified in crowd control aka managing how a crowd responds during an emergency. The instruction heavily taught most people are going to do nothing until they realize fully what it is happening or when they begin to mimic the actions of the crowd. If the crowd runs they run, if others watch they watch, etc… It is extremely common, it is what we do for our own protection and we have done it for hundreds of years. The old adage of flee or fight needs to actually contain: Freeze (what a lot of people actually do), flee or fight.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        So true! That’s why you should always read the exit manual on planes, because it gives your brain a run through. Just thinking about how to evacuate helps prevent the freeze that naturally occurs when emergencies happen.

        Taking that premise and applying it to our times, I have come up with a plan for what to do if I see a person being harassed for being POC, LGBTQ, Muslim, Jewish, etc. I am going to say a name in a loud voice as if I recognize them, then invite them for coffee as I lead them away from the danger. Example: “CHRISTINA!!! Oh honey, how are you? I didn’t get to hear the end of your presentation the other day, but I’d love to hear more about it. Do you want to go grab some coffee so we can go over the details”.

        Or “Sweetie! It is so good to see you. We need to get caught up, it has been far too long since we have talked. Would you like to go grab some tea and chat?”

        If there is violence, it might not work of course. But if the opportunity arises, my brain will be prepared. I figure this strategy doesn’t provoke the offender, but creates a pause in which safety can be found.

  8. Audrey says:

    I am from Chicago and live there now. I’m so sorry this happened to him in our fair city or anywhere!

  9. Liz version 700 says:

    AOC is 100% on point.

  10. curachel20 says:

    Do we think the guys followed him from the airport? I mean, what are the odds they know he’d go to subway at 2am. That thought alone is horrifying-that two thugs stalk him to beat him up! I’m so sad at what is transgressing in our country (but sadly, not surprised).

    • Bren says:

      I follow Jussie on Instagram and he documented his arrival back to Chicago on IG stories. If they knew his pattern of traveling from the airport, it’s possible they knew when and where to target him.

      • curachel20 says:

        I saw him documenting his flight, but I didn’t see him talk about subway-that’s what makes me think these sickos followed him from the airport. Unless he always hits up that subway after a flight. That’s all I’m saying-obviously they follow him on IG, but then used that to stalk him to his next stop is what I find horrifying.

    • adastraperaspera says:

      I think so. How would assailants have bleach and a noose just handy for whenever he happened to walk by. This is a frightening assault designed to get maximum exposure in the media. I think it’s basically premeditated, racist terrorism.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        It’s also a possibility that they were just looking to commit a hate crime. It isn’t unheard of for groups of men to look for POC to target for violent crimes.

        The fact that he had received threatening letters before this incident, though, makes me think it could have been a targeted and planned attack.

    • Mariposa says:

      I was wondering that too – it seems like they were targetting him, but how did they track him down. Following from the airport kind of makes sense, but they would have had to know when he was landing. The whole thing is just so horrible, I just keep thinking how scared he must have been, probably not knowing whether he was going to live or die.

  11. JoJo says:

    I follow a couple of Jussie’s fan pages and throughout the last couple of years. Many people have mentioned they have seen him walking around alone in Chicago and NY.He hasn’t had security for awhile except for business, like personal appearances.

    • isabelle says:

      A lot of celebs do that though, a lot. Live in a town that very famous celebs often visit and they are alone many times. Heck our Senators and Congress people don’t even have security.

  12. Aerohead21 says:

    This is sick. My heart goes out to this man.

  13. Valiantly Varnished says:

    The amount of people calling this fake and blaming him on Twitter was sending me into a rage spiral last night. People literally arguing that there are no MAGAts in Chicagk. Oh, really?? Because I live in Chicago and I can name three.

  14. Veronica S. says:

    They use racially charged for legal purposes. Before a crime hits the courts, any sort “biased” reporting can feed into a defensive case that works against the prosecution. You have to be very careful from a reporting perspective when describing crime for both the sake of the case and your paper’s reputation.

    Also, whoever released this story can get wrecked. Sweet victim blaming, jackass.

  15. BaeBae says:

    Waiting for white celebs to speak up about this.. the ones who claim to love the culture so much. So far they’ve all been silent except for Matt McGorry. He does an excellent job as an ally.

    • Erinn says:

      Umm, I’ve seen plenty? Cher, Ellen (which is a bit rich), Danny Strong, Joe Biden, Ariana Grande, Ike Barinholtz, Billy Eichner, etc etc.

      • BaeBae says:

        Good to know, but I’m talking about the culture vultures who claim all things black and then are silent when something like this happens.

  16. SarSte says:

    I kind of have to laugh that America’s right-wing constantly drones on about how snowflake/PC everything is these days, and yet can’t just call a spade a spade. “We need to give these masked men the BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT.” Right.

    Honestly America, you spark so little joy these days, I want to put you in the garbage.

  17. T says:

    This is one of the headlines from People: “Jussie Smollett Told Chicago Police His Assailants Called Out ‘MAGA’ During Apparent Hate Crime.” APPARENT??!! He was targeted for being a gay, black man. That is not an apparent hate crime. It IS a hate crime. Period.

  18. Lisa says:

    Wishing him a speedy recovery.

  19. Pandy says:

    This story makes me sick to my stomach. I hope they catch his attackers and that they get to watch a lot of sunsets via their prison cell windows …

    The bleach and the rope … how sick are these people???

  20. Rosie says:

    When Stephen Lawrence was murdered in London I originally thought it was a fight that got out of hand. I just couldn’t understand that someone could be murdered for the colour of their skin, that race could trigger such hatred. It still makes no sense to me and the same with homophobia, it just seems so irrational. I can’t get my head around hate crimes and the people that deny them or excuse them are beneath contempt.

  21. me says:

    What’s sad is the two f*ckers that did this are smirking somewhere thinking they “did good”. They are exceptionally dumb and will brag about the crime they committed to someone somewhere. They’ll be caught in no time. The sad part is the two men were probably young, which means the hate still continues from generation to generation. It’s never going away.

  22. Carol says:

    The fact that these a**hole had bleach and rope ready means that they were willing to target someone already. It’s a hate crime on top of a homophobic one since they recognized him being gay. They were willing to ‘sanitize’ someone with bleach first and then put a rope on to finish them off. Hopefully they will be caught and punished accordingly.

    • Kebbie says:

      If it were just bleach and rope, I would think they were out looking for any person of color to terrorize, but the fact that they knew he was gay and that he was on Empire makes me think they had to have targeted him specifically.

      It seems unlikely to me that the kind of people who go out to commit a random hate crime would know and recognize an actor from Empire walking down the street and also know that he is gay. He had to have been personally targeted. Maybe they live in his neighborhood and are already familiar with him. Maybe they knew the kind of stuff he posted about Trump online. There’s no way he was chosen randomly, IMO.

      • Carol says:

        How would they know when he got to Chicago from NY and decided to go out to eat at 2AM? They might know who he was and recognized him but that’s it. He’s in the wrong spot at the wrong time in my opinion. I could be wrong that they had deliberately tracked him via social media, maybe, in order to know his scheduling and possibly his eating habits etc… But that’s a stretch though.

      • Kebbie says:

        Fox received a letter addressed to him with the exact same type of messaging and slurs a week or two ago. I don’t know how frequently an actor of his stature would be on the receiving end of that kind of thing, but it seems like a long shot to be a coincidence that he’s then suddenly attacked.

        But it does seem odd that two people would have that fixation with him rather than just one deranged person, if the letter and attack were related. Maybe I am underestimating his level of fame. Them knowing him and that he was gay is what’s tripping me up.

        They’ve got two persons of interest so hopefully we’ll have answers and justice soon enough.