Jussie Smollett Breaks His Silence After Apparent Hate Crime
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK. My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly, I want to say thank you,” the Empire star, 36, said in a statement to Essence on Friday. “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,” he continued. “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. 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.”
At around 2 a.m. in Chicago on Tuesday, Smollett transported himself to the hospital after he was the victim of an apparent hate crime.
The Chicago Police Department confirmed in a statement that a member of the hit Fox show was involved in a “racially-charged assault and battery.”
“Two unknown offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him,” continued the statement. “The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim. At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck. The offenders fled the scene.”
In a statement, 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 or any despicable act of violence and hatred — and especially against one of our own.”
The Fox show’s creator, Lee Daniels, also spoke out about the incident, calling the actor his “son” and saying, “It’s just another f—ing day in America.”
Smollett’s family also released a statement on Thursday.
“We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice,” they said. “Our family thanks everyone for their prayers and the huge amount of love he has received. We are thankful to our village for your immense support during this trying time. We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed.”
On Wednesday, Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi released an update on the case, revealing that investigators have acquired footage that could lead to the arrests of the Empire actor’s assailants. The police also released two photos of the persons of interest, however, the images did not show the individuals’ faces.
Smollett first spoke publicly about being gay on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2015, though he said he never considered himself to be in the closet.
“There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in,” he said, adding that deciding not to talk about his personal life is not an attempt to “hide or deny who God made me. There is, without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in,” he reiterated, “and I just wanted to make that clear.”
This article originally appeared on People. For more stories like this, visit people.com.
This Story Originally Appeared On People