PASADENA – Anna Paquin made it clear that she stands with “Empire” star Jussie Smollett and has zero tolerance for what's being investigated as a possible hate crime against the openly gay actor and musician.
“It’s absolutely horrific,” the “Flack” leading lady told Fox News on Thursday during a network party at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Los Angeles. “I have no more information than anyone else does, but I think as anyone with a conscience and a pulse – I’m just f—king horrified.”
The “True Blood” alum's comments came after Smollett was hospitalized, claiming he'd been attacked by two assailants in Chicago who yelled out “racial and homophobic slurs” and poured an unknown chemical substance on him before wrapping a rope around his neck.
Paquin, 36, is a longtime and very vocal supporter of the LGBTQIA community and identifies as bisexual.
Smollett also alleges the perpetrators shouted, “this is MAGA country” during the attack -- a pointed reference to the slogan popularized by President Trump and his supporters: Make America Great Again.
The 36-year-old Smollett broke his silence Friday in a statement to Essence, thanking his fans for the support he has received.
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett began in the statement. “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.”
“I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”
The “Sum of My Music” singer concluded: “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. We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process,” he concluded. “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. “With Love, respect & honor…Jussie.”
Smollett is slated to take the stage Saturday night for a sold-out performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Law enforcement officials told Fox News that police officers near the venue will be on “high alert” for suspicious activity.