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Kevin Hart ‘sending prayers’ to Jussie Smollett following suspected racist and homophobic attack

The comedian has previously appeared reluctant to acknowledge the harm in his past homophobic comments.

By Will Stroude

Comedian Kevin Hart says he is “sending prayers” to Jussie Smollett after the Empire star was hospitalised following a suspected racist and homophobic attack.

Hart, who was forced to quit as host of this year’s Oscars in December following a firestorm of controversy over his past homophobic comments and ‘jokes’, branded the attack on Smollett “disgusting” in a post on Instagram, urging people to “choose love”.

The comedian has previously appeared reluctant to acknowledged the harmful implications of his past comments, which included a tweet saying that if he caught his son playing with his daughter’s dollhouse he would “break it over his head” and say “‘stop that’s gay’.”

Apparently not sensing the irony, Hart questioned “why we are going backwards”, adding that “we as people have to do better.”

“Sending prayers your way @jussiesmollett….This is unbelievably sad. Why are we going backwards….this is disgusting,” the wrote alongside a picture of Smollett on Instagram.

“We as people have to do better. WTF is going on the world???? Why are we falling in love with hate???? God damn it people….Choose love…I repeat…Choose love.

“I will forever choose love and I will continue to teach my kids how to do the same. Stand strong brother.”

Police are currently investigatiing the attack on Smollett, who was set upon in Chicago by two men “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs”, according to police.

The 35-year-old actor, who has played gay musician Jamal Lyon on Empire since 2015 – the same year he came out publicly – was hit in the face, had an “unknown chemical substance” poured on him an had a rope tied round his neck.

According to unconfirmed reports, the two men also shouted that Smollett was in “MAGA country” – a reference to Donald Trump#’s 2016 election slogan ‘Make America Great Again’.

He was reportedly discharged from hospital on Tuesday (29 January).

Other stars have also been voicing their outrage at the attack on Smollett, with celebrities including Reece Witherspoon, Ariana Grande, Viola Davis and Jada Pinkett Smith sending public message of support to the actor.