Empire star Terrence Howard has broken his silence over his co-star Jussie Smollet being the victim of an apparent hate crime.
According to reports, Smollett was in Chicago, Illinois earlier this week when he was attacked by two masked men who beat him, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck.
Howard — who plays the father of Smollett's character on the Fox drama — has since opened up about the attack and shared how his on-screen son is doing in the wake of the violent crime.
“I heard he’s getting better. You know, he’s angry,” Howard told Good Morning America. “But I know Jussie. Jussie’s anger will dissipate and he will forgive these people for what they did. But he won’t, and we cannot, forget their actions. They have to be forgiven because it was done out of ignorance.”
“Jussie’s the one that starts singing when everybody’s in a bad mood,” he went on to say. “He’s the one that cheers everybody up. He’s the one that does all the Instagrams if he catches you sleeping. Today, no one was caught sleeping. No one even took time to close their eyes and nap. They were all in shock that our family — you know, the Fox family, the Empire family, the Lyon family — were attacked by a bunch of hyenas today.”
The Chicago Police Department is currently investigating the crime, which they have cited as being “racially-charged assault and battery,” per PEOPLE.
“A 36 year old man was walking … when two unknown offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him,” a statement from the CPD read. “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. The offenders fled the scene.”
At this time, Smollett does not appear to have released a public statement on the attack.