'Empire' Star Taraji P. Henson Weighs in on Costar Jussie Smollett's Attack

Taraji P. Henson is continuing to support her Empire costar Jussie Smollett in the wake of the racist and homophobic attack against him last week.

Appearing at the New York City screening of her new comedy, What Men Want, Henson, who portrays Smollett's onscreen mother in the popular FOX drama, once again opened up about the attack against her onscreen son, which left him hospitalized.

"He hasn't been back [on set] yet, but he will be, absolutely. We miss him so...You can't let hate win," she told Entertainment Tonight. "At his very core is love, so that's how he operates and that's why the tragedy was felt by so many people because of what he represents."

Smollett was attacked last week while leaving a Subway restaurant during the early morning hours in Chicago. The actor told authorities that two men approached him yelling homophobic and racial slurs and proceeded to physically assault him, pour what is believed to have been bleach on him, and tie a rope around his neck.

The attack, which the Chicago Police Department are investigating "as a possible hate crime," left Smollett with lacerations to his face and neck, which required a brief hospitalization.

"I wish what happened to my baby was just one big bad joke but it wasn't and we all feel his pain right now," Henson said just after news of the attack broke. "[Jussie Smollett] is pure love to the bone AND THAT IS WHY SO MANY ARE FEELING HIS PAIN BECAUSE IT IS OUR PAIN!!! I tell you one thing HATE WILL NOT WIN!!!! My baby is resilient and love still lives in him. The devil and his minions are very busy right now but one thing is for sure and two things are for certain #GODIS and that is all I know."

While Smollett remained silent in the days directly following the attack, he broke his silence and spoke out against the crime on Friday, assuring fans he was okay.

"Let me start by saying that I'm OK," he said. "My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words."

He also spoke out against the attack, which he stated was not just a singular incident, but something that occurs to others every day.

"As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily. I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident," he said. "Most importantly, during times of trauma, grief and pain, there is still a responsibility to lead with love. It's all I know. And that can't be kicked out of me."


No suspects have yet been charged in relation to the crime.