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Jussie Smollett details reported attack that left him ‘forever changed’

The ‘Empire’ star says he’s ‘pissed off’ at incident

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Jussie Smollett on ‘Good Morning America.’ (Screenshot via YouTube)

Jussie Smollett publicly detailed his alleged homophobic and racist attack for the first time in an interview with “Good Morning America” on Thursday.

The “Empire” star recalled the incident, which occurred on Jan. 29 in Chicago, to Robin Roberts saying that it left him “pissed off.”

Smollett says he was picked up from the airport by his creative director Frank Gatson. After arriving at Smollett’s apartment, Smollett wanted to get food. Smollett went to a local Walgreens but the location was closed. He decided to go to a Subway across the street. As Smollett was leaving Subway, he was on the phone with his manager, who was in Australia. He says that is when he heard someone yell “Empire” at him.

“And, I don’t answer to Empire, my name ain’t Empire,” Smollett told Roberts. He claims that he was then called “F**got, Empire, n***r!” Smollett recalled that the attackers also yelled “MAGA country.”

“So I turned around and said ‘What the f*c*did you just say to me’ and I see the attacker masked,” Smollett said. “He said ‘This MAGA country nr’ and he punched me in the face so I punched his a** back.”

Smollett says the fight ended up near some stairs and a second person kicked him in the back. The suspects ran away and Smollett picked up his phone which had fallen. Smollett says his manager was still on the line and he told him he had been attacked.

“It felt like minutes but it probably was like 30 seconds,” Smollett continued. “I can’t tell you honestly. I noticed the rope around my neck and I started screaming.”

Chicago Police released an image from surveillance camera footage of the area which shows “potential persons of interest.”

Smollett told Roberts he believes those are the suspects who attacked him.

“Because I was there,” Smollett says. “For me, when that was released, I was like, ‘O.K., we’re getting somewhere.’ I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them. Never did.”

As for the skeptics who aren’t convinced of Smollett’s story, the actor says people have an issue with his description of the suspects.

“It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more,” Smollett says

Smollett, who grew emotional at various parts of the interview, says he is “forever changed” by the incident.

“I will never be the man that this did not happen to,” Smollett says. “I am forever changed. I don’t subscribe to the idea everything happens for a reason, but I do subscribe to the idea that we have the right and the responsibility to make something meaningful out of the things that happen to us, good and bad.”

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Online Culture

Tom Daley: Bad Dad Jokes!

Terrible jokes, but I love them! Not sure if Lance does…

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Los Angeles Blade Screenshot via YouTube

LONDON – British Olympian and gold medalist diver Tom Daley along with his husband D. Lance Black pass along some really terrible ‘Dad’ jokes.

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Celebrity News

Out Trans Munroe Bergdorf is covergirl as Cosmopolitan UK celebrates 50

“I believe the people want trans inclusion, racial equality, to end misogyny so women and girls feel safe walking home at night”

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Courtesy of Cosmopolitan UK

LONDON – Starting this upcoming Friday, January 21, customers standing in the queue at checkout tills and newsstands across the United Kingdom will be greeted by the sight of model and Out Trans activist Munroe Bergdof smiling back at them from the cover of the 50th anniversary special edition issue of Cosmopolitan UK.

In the cover story interview conducted by PinkNewsUK gender and identity journalist Vic Parsons, Salvadoran-American filmmaker, actor, model, and intersex rights activist River Gallo, along with writer, stylist and consultant Aja Barber, Bergdof discusses career, climate change and global warming, cancel culture, pronouns and the future of Trans rights.

“I hope there’s a young trans girl looking at this cover thinking: ‘I can do it too and who I am is not going to hold me back,’” she says.

Bergdorf adds: “I believe the people want trans inclusion, racial equality, to end misogyny so women and girls feel safe walking home at night.”

“I don’t think we have ever been as enlightened as a people as we are now, even if there is a lot of misinformation around. I do feel like the spark has been lit. Less people are passively accepting what they have been presented with and that’s an incredible thing.”

In a commentary piece written for London-based fashion and cultural media outlet Grazia in February 2018, Bergdorf noted;

A woman is more than a vagina, than her ability to bear children, the gender she was assigned at birth, a socio-economic class, marital status or sexual history – yet every one of these points has been used to define and control a woman’s place in society. This is why feminism must serve as an inclusive tool of liberation for all female identities and experiences, not just some. This is where so many women are still getting it wrong.”

[…]

I long to see more cisgender women in positions of influence standing up for trans women, making people aware of issues that may not affect all of us, but that we should all care about deeply.

[…]

We must learn to see all women’s experiences as worthy of being listened to within feminist discourse. Because the fact is not all women possess a functioning reproductive system, not all women have a vagina, not all women’s vaginas are pink. So, when ‘pink pussies’ are used as imagery intended to unify all women, what they are actually doing is excluding a large amount of women from feeling like they have a voice within feminism.”

Bergdof deleted her Twitter account due to the torrent of transphobic abuse she received on the social media platform PinkNewsUK reported.

“Tired of being a punching bag. Twitter is not a safe app for transgender people,” she wrote.

The activist called on social media platforms take more action to combat the abuse directed at transgender people and women online.

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Sports

Out soccer player calls out ‘homophobic abuse’ from crowd

The Adelaide United player said he had “no words” to describe his disappointment at being the target of anti-gay insults from the crowd

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Photo courtesy of Josh Cavallo Instagram

ADELAIDE, Australia – Professional soccer player Josh Cavallo, who became the only openly gay top-flight male professional footballer last year, told his Instagram followers over the weekend that he experienced “homophobic abuse” during his last game. 

The Adelaide United player said he had “no words” to describe his disappointment at being the target of anti-gay insults from the crowd at AAMI Park during his team’s Saturday game against the Melbourne Victory.

“As a society it shows we still face these problems in 2022,” he wrote. “This shouldn’t be acceptable and we need to do more to hold these people accountable. Hate never will win. I will never apologise for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.”

Cavallo added that he was also targeted after the game online. 

“To @instagram I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I’ve received,” he said. “I knew truely being who I am that I was going to come across this. It’s a sad reality that your platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) said it was “shocked and saddened” to hear Cavallo’s reports of “homophobic bullying,” according to the Guardian

“Our players, staff and fans have the right to feel safe on and off the pitch,” APL CEO Danny Townsend said. “There is no place for bullying, harassment or abuse in Australian football and we have zero tolerance for this harmful behaviour.”

The APL is working with both teams to investigate the incident, adding that sanctions will be issued to anyone involved. 

In a statement, Adelaide United Chief Executive Officer Nathan Kosmina said that the team was “appalled” at the “verbal abuse” that Cavallo received. 

“Adelaide United is proud to be an inclusive and diverse football club, and to see one of our players subjected to homophobic abuse is disappointing and upsetting,” he said. “Josh continues to show immense courage and we join him in calling out abuse, which has no place in society, and it will not be tolerated by our Club.”

The Melbourne Victory added that it “sees football as a platform to unite fans no matter what background. Spectators found to have breached these standards will be banned from future matches.”

At the end of his Instagram message, Cavallo thanked those sending him positive messages, love and support. 

“Love will always win,” he said. 

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