Actor Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon on Empire, has broken his silence after two men reportedly beat him up and shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him in Chicago.
On Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, Smollett released a statement, commenting on being the recent victim of a brutal attack. “Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” he said, as reported by Essence, adding, “My body is strong but my soul is stronger.” He continued, “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 noted that he’s been working with the police and that he has been “100% factual and consistent” throughout the process. He also shared his belief that “justice will be served.”
He went on, “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.” Ending his statement, Smollett told fans, “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.”
As wowplus previously reported, Smollett was attacked by two men in Chicago in the early hours of Jan. 29. The assailants reportedly used racist and homophobic speech, physically assaulted Smollett, poured bleach on him, and placed a noose around the actor’s neck. When leaving, the two men were said to have stated, “This is MAGA country.”
Smollett sought medical treatment at Northwestern Memorial. Chicago authorities are reportedly investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
Smollett told police that he was on the phone with his manager when he was attacked. He reportedly would not give his phone over to the cops as proof but he did allegedly agree to give investigators a copy of his phone records.