“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:
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.”