Jussie Smollett has broken his silence on the January 29 attack that left him hospitalized. In a statement provided to IndieWire, the “Empire” actor said he is doing ok and thanked his fans and the industry at large for an outcry of support in the hours and days after the attack first made news.
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett said. “My body is strong but my soul is stronger. 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 continued, “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 confirmed by the Chicago Police Department, Smollett was approached by two men in the early morning of January 29. The offenders “yelled racial and homophobic” slurs at the actor and “battered [him] with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.” Later, one of the assailants “wrapped a rope around [Smollett’s] neck.”
“As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers, and non-gender conforming siblings daily,” Smollett’s statement concluded. “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.”
Smollett’s family previously issued a statement calling the attack on the actor a “racial and homophobic hate crime” and an example of “domestic terrorism.” Production on Smollett’s “Empire” has continued while law enforcement investigate the attack.