This Friday, February 1, the Empire star opened up to ESSENCE about the alleged hate crime.
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” the actor began in his statement. “My body is strong but my soul is stronger.”
RadarOnline.com readers know that at around 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 29, Smollett, 36, was tackled by two men wearing MAGA hats and ski masks in a Chicago street. The criminals allegedly battered him with their hands while yelling racial and homophobic slurs, poured an unknown chemical substance on him and tied a noose around his neck. The star had to transport himself to the hospital after they fled the scene.
“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 in his statement.
After learning of the attack, various celebrities and fans took to social media to voice their disbelief and sadness over the matter, and to send prayers to Smollett.
“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,” the actor continued.
In the past few days, cops and sources have disclosed conflicting details about the crime, making some fans quite skeptical. This Thursday, January 31, Chicago police confirmed to Radar that Smollett and his manager had refused to turn over their phone records, despite claiming they were speaking on their cells when the attack took place.
Police also said they found no surveillance footage of the attack, though they did capture video of the possible suspects. Investigators believe the men targeted Smollett because of his racial background and open homosexuality.
“As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily,” continued the star in his statement. “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.”
Smollett was hospitalized after the attack to get treatment for his injuries, but in his message, he admitted that he’s remaining positive and continuing to fight for equality.
“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,” Jussie Smollett concluded.
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