“This needs to f**king stop,” said Page.
On Tuesday (29 Jan), Empire star Jussie Smollett was attacked in Chicago in what police are characterising as a possible hate crime. The assault involved two men yelling out “racial and homophobic slurs” at Smollett, pouring an “unknown chemical substance” on him, and wrapping a rope around his neck, according to the Chicago Police Department. And, in a follow-up interview with police, Smollett also told investigators that he heard attackers shout “MAGA [Make America Great Again] country.”
Now, in an emotionally-charged appearance on The Late Show, Ellen Page has blasted President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence, insisting that it is their anti-LGBTQ policies which have led to such hatred and intolerance in the USA.
“It feels impossible not to feel this way right now with the president and the vice president Mike Pence, who wishes I could not be married, let’s just be clear,” said the Umbrella Academy star, referring to the fact that the Evangelical VP has stood against marriage equality, against abortion, against adoption by same sex couples and against LGBTQ people serving in the armed forces.
Page, sharing a photo of herself with her wife Emily Portner, continued: “The vice president of America wishes I didn’t have the love with my wife.
“He wanted to ban that in Indiana, he believes in conversion therapy, he has hurt LGBTQ people so badly as the governor of Indiana.”
Then, referring to Smollett’s attack, the actress tearfully continued: “Connect the dots, this is what happens.
“If you are in a position of power and you hate people and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering — what do you think is going to happen?
“Kids are going to be abused, and they’re going to kill themselves and people are going to be beaten on the street.”
Watch the powerful moment for yourself below:
Smollett, who has received rave reviews for his role as Jamal Lyon on Empire, came out during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in 2015.
Responding to news of the attack, a spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said: “We are deeply saddened and outraged to learn that a member of our ‘Empire’ family, Jussie Smollett, was viciously attacked last night.
“We send our love to Jussie, who is resilient and strong, and we will work with law enforcement to bring these perpetrators to justice. The entire studio, network and production stands united in the face of any despicable act of violence and hate — and especially against one of our own.”
GLAAD also released a statement on the incident, saying, “GLAAD reached out to Fox and Jussie’s team today to offer assistance as well as support for him. Jussie is a true champion for LGBTQ people and is beloved by the community and allies around the world.”
According to police, the assault on Smollett took place just a week after Fox studios received a threatening, homophobic letter addressed to the actor.
This letter was sent on 22 January, and was laced with a powdery substance believed to be Tylenol.
Police are currently attempting to determine whether there is a link between the letter and the Tuesday attack, as they search for two potential persons of interest caught on CCTV near the place of the assault (see below).
“While video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously & wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed,” a the chief communications officer has said.
Smollett remains in hospital for his injuries. Representatives have not provided an update on his condition at the time of this article’s publication.