He’s OK. Empire star Jussie Smollett broke his silence on February 1 about the alleged racist and homophobic attack he endured in Chicago on Tuesday, January 29. The actor provided a statement to Essence about how he’s doing in the days following the incident.
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett began. “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.” He 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.”
Smollett, 36, added, “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.” Smollett concluded the statement, “With Love, respect & honor…Jussie.”
Smollett was hospitalized after the attack, and the Chicago Police Department confirmed that there is an open investigation into the incident. Chief Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement on January 29, “Overnight, the Chicago Police Department received a report of a possible racially-charged assault and battery involving a cast member of the television show Empire. Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime. Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline. The victim is fully cooperating with investigators and we ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382 or report it anonymously to www.cpdtip.com.”
According to the police department, Smollett was allegedly approached by two unknown offenders who “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him.” They then allegedly “battered” Smollett with their hands “about the face” before allegedly pouring “an unknown chemical substance on the victim.” The incident background In Touch reviewed also noted that at one point during the attack, “one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck.”
Chicago police confirmed to Us Weekly on Wednesday, January 30, that police had found potential persons of interest in a surveillance video. Hopefully, those responsible will be found quickly and brought to justice. And more importantly, we hope Smollett continues to do well after the incident. Our hearts are with him.