Jussie Smollett is finally speaking out after he was reportedly physically attacked by two men hurling racist and homophobic slurs.
In a statement to Essence on Friday, the Empire actor thanked people for their support and said he was doing well.
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK. My body is strong but my soul is stronger,” he said. “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.”
Smollett, who’s openly gay, has alleged he was walking to get food early Tuesday morning when two men “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs” assaulted him, poured an unknown substance on him and tied a rope around his neck, said Chicago police. He reportedly told police that the men shouted “MAGA country,” referencing President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” 2016 campaign slogan.
Trump responded to news of Smollett’s alleged attack, calling it “horrible,” before seemingly connecting it to the need of a wall at the U.S. Southern border.
The singer said he has been “100 percent factual and consistent on every level” when communicating with law enforcement, adding, “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.”
Chicago police have released surveillance video of “potential persons of interest.”
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.