Days after allegedly being brutally attacked, “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has issued his first statement since the assault.
Smollett, 35, says two unidentified men attacked him on his way out of a Subway restaurant in Chicago at around 2 A.M. on Tuesday. Smollett reportedly told police that the men, who were wearing ski masks at the time, hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him during the attack, doused him with what may have been bleach, and left a noose around his neck.
Breaking his silence for the first time since then, Smollett assured his fans and supporters that he’s “OK” in a statement issued to Essence on Friday.
“My body is strong but my soul is stronger,” he said. “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.”
Smollett reportedly told police that his attackers shouted, “This is MAGA country,” as they left. Smollett appeared to address speculation online that his story has been inconsistent, writing, “I am working with authorities and have been 100% 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.”
“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,” his statement reads. “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.”
Following the attack, the actor is said to have transported himself to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries, which reportedly included a fractured rib. The alleged assailants, two white men, are still at large. Chicago police are currently investigating the incident, having released surveillance photos of two men who they believe to be people of interest in the case.
Smollett’s words come a day after his family issued a joint statement describing the attack as a “racial and homophobic hate crime” and calling for more awareness of the violence minorities face. His “Empire” co-stars, like Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, have also expressed their support for the actor on social media, and on Thursday, President Donald Trump called the assault “horrible.”
[Photo: Getty Images]
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