Actor Jussie Smollett released his first statement following the homophobic and racist attack he suffered in Chicago.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning (29 January), two white men attacked Smollett. Police confirmed the men shouted homophobic and racial slurs. They reportedly put a noose around Smollett’s neck and ‘poured an unknown chemical substance’ on him.
Smollett was hospitalized after the attack and discharged later that morning.
The gay actor released his first statement regarding the attack to Essence on Friday (1 February).
‘Let me start by saying that I’m ok,’ he said.
‘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.’
Celebrities, figures, and organizations across the country have offered an outpouring of love and support for Smollett.
Where the case stands now
When news of the attack first surfaced, Chicago police said they were investigating if it was a hate crime.
On Wednesday (30 January), they released photos of ‘persons of interest’ in the case.
‘Detectives located a surveillance camera that shows potential persons of interest wanted for questioning in reference to the assault & battery of Empire actor,’ Anthony Guglielmi, Chief Communications Officer of Chicago Police, said on Twitter.
The FBI is also investigating the case.
Other reports stated both Smollett and Empire, the Fox TV series he’s in, received threats prior to the attack.
Smollett’s family spoke out recently and described the attack as ‘domestic terrorism’.
‘We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime,’ they said in a statement. ‘These are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such.
‘We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country.’