Celebrities show support for theater director who was attacked


ABC's "Modern Family" stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell.
ABC's "Modern Family" stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell. Courtesy of ABC

Celebrities are now rallying around Derek Whitener, a theater director from Keller who was attacked in a Dallas Target parking lot last week.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis and actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson took to social media to support the theater director and included a link to Whitener’s GoFundMe page, which has now reached its goal of more than $100,000.

According to the latest update on the GoFundMe page, Whitener is still in ICU and is finding it difficult to communicate.

Curtis tweeted out on Tuesday the link along with, “Random act of violence meet random acts of kindness.”

On Thursday, Ferguson of ABC’s Modern Family, posted about his similarities with Whitener in a message to his fans on Facebook.

He continued, “Please join me in donating what you can and sharing Derek's GoFundMe page. We can't sit silent while these things happen — we must stand together and make noise to ensure that love ALWAYS wins.”

On Jan. 14, Whitener stopped by the Target on Haskell Avenue in Dallas after performing in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at The Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch. Two suspicious men were following him as he entered the store, and Whitener reported them to security, who asked the them to leave, police said.

Around 11 p.m., Whitener walked to his car and one of the men made a threat. The suspects then beat him with a 3-foot wooden rod and fled on foot, police said.

Dallas police descibe the suspects as black males 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds, between the ages of 18 and 20.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.


Shot five times in March of 2016, Fort Worth police officer Matt Pearce received the department's highest honor, the Medal of Honor, during ceremonies Thursday.