Yesterday, the family of Jussie Smollett spoke out after two men assaulted the Empire actor in a racist, homophobic attack. Calling him “a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed,” his parents and siblings used the opportunity to decry all hate-motivated attacks on marginalized communities as “inhumane acts of domestic terrorism.” Today, Smollett himself has emerged with a statement of his own.
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett, who was reportedly found after the attack with a rope around his neck, said in a statement to Essence. “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.”
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 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.
The Chicago Police Department is currently investigating Smollett’s attack as a hate crime. CPD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi has said that, by Smollett’s account, the actor was taunted with homophobic slurs and cries of “MAGA country.” Smollett also claims he was doused with an unknown chemical before one of the individuals wrapped the rope around his neck.