Jussie Smollett Issues First Statement Following Attack

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Jussie Smollett attends the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 60th Anniversary Opening Night Gala Benefit at New York City Center on November 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Jussie Smollett has released a statement in the wake of the hate crime committed against him in Chicago earlier this week. Late Monday night, the black and openly gay Empire star was assaulted by two men who allegedly yelled slurs at him, poured bleach on his face and tied a rope around his neck. In a statement to ESSENCE, Smollett explained that he was “OK.”

“My body is strong but my soul is stronger,” he wrote. “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. ”

Discussing the progress of the investigation into the incident, Smollett explained: “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 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,” he concluded. “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 issued a statement about the attack yesterday, which they called “domestic terrorism” and “a racial and homophobic hate crime.” Chicago police are investigating the incident as a possible “racially-charged assault and battery.” The FBI is also investigating the incident in relationship to an letter containing white powder that was sent to Smollett in Fox’s studios the week before the attack.

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