“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett said in a statement to Essence. “My body is strong but my soul is stronger.”
According to Chicago police, two still-unidentified men first yelled “racial and homophobic slurs” toward Smollett as the actor walked a Chicago street. “The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim. At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck,” the Chicago Police Department said. Smollett was hospitalized following the incident.
In the aftermath of the attack, certain details regarding the incident have come into question; at one point, the attackers allegedly wore “Make America Great Again” hats, but that was later changed to them shouting “MAGA country.” In his statement, Smollett addressed the “inaccuracies and misrepresentations.”
“I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level,” the actor said. “Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”
On Thursday, Smollet’s family issued a statement via Instagram:
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Because there’s a light in him that cannot be dimmed, because we are a family of joyful warriors, we will not let this get the best of us. Although this is a picture from happier times, this is the spirit to which we chose to move forward…they will not steal, our joy. ✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽 ________________________________________________________Statement from our family: “ In the early hours of Tuesday morning, our beloved son and brother, Jussie, was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack. We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice. Our family thanks everyone for their prayers and the huge amount of love he has received. We are thankful to our village for your immense support during this trying time. We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed. 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. Oftentimes ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such. They will continue to occur until we hold each other accountable. Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions. Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall. We, as a family, will continue to work for love, equity and justice until it reigns supreme in our nation and all over the world. With love & gratitude, The Smollett Family”
Smollett himself reiterated the family’s statement Friday. “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,” Smollett told Essence.
“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.”