Jussie Smollett has spoken out after he was a victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
The attack occurred on Monday night in Chicago when two men approached Smollett. They yelled racist and homophobic slurs at the Empire actor as well as put his head in a noose.
Smollett released his first statement since the attack with Essence.
“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. ”
The actor also discussed his frustrations regarding false rumors about the attacks circulating on social media.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
The Chicago Police said in a statement that the alleged attackers also “pour an unknown chemical substance on the victim” and fled the scene. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
“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,” CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.
The 36-year-old actor plays openly gay Jamal Lyon on the FOX musical drama. The show premiered in 2015 and films in Chicago for most of the year. He stars alongside Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson and Bryshere Gray.