Jussie Smollett has spoken out for the first time since news broke of the “Empire” actor being attacked and beaten in Chicago in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Jan. 29, in what police are calling a possible hate crime.
The alleged incident happened when Smollett was heading to a Subway restaurant and two white men reportedly yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him. They also punched him, fractured one of his ribs, poured an unknown chemical substance on him and tied a noose around his neck.
It was said also the two men asked Smollett if he was that “N—- from ‘Empire'” and told him “This is MAGA country.” He was later treated and released at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and seen with cuts on his face.
On Friday, Feb. 1, Smollett released a statement in which the actor said he’s pulling through and appreciative of all the support.
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” he let people know. “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.”
The 35-year-old also addressed some misinformation he came across online and denied that he’s changed his story about the details of the incident.
“I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level,” he stated. “Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”
Smollett’s family mirrored the same words about the actor fully cooperating with police in a statement they released the previous day. On that same day, NBC News reported that Smollett didn’t want to hand his cellphone to Chicago police who asked for it to help with their investigation. But Friday Chicago police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said the “Empire” star wouldn’t be forced to do so.
“The allegations as reported to us are horrendous,” said Johnson in a statement. “He’s a victim. We don’t treat him like a criminal. [Smollett] has been very cooperative with us.”