Actor Jussie Smollett has told fans that he is feeling “OK” and working with police after he was assaulted in Chicago this week in what has been described as a potential hate crime.
Police said that Smollet, who is best known for starring in the Empire TV show, was attacked by two men who allegedly yelled racial and homophobic slurs, struck him in the face, poured an unknown substance on him, and then wrapped a rope around his neck.
Smollett left the scene and took himself to a hospital, where he was treated but said to be in good condition.
“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” he said in a statement on Friday. “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 actor, who has identified himself as a gay man previously while expressing openness to love over gender, continued in his statement to say that he has been truthful with his allegations.
After his attack, the news went viral – but some said the viral story was a hoax.
“I am working with authorities and I have been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level,” he said. “Despite my frustrations and deep concerns with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served”.
Chicago police say that the actor has refused to hand over his cell phone, which could prove that he was speaking with his manager on the phone when he was attacked.
His manager has told authorities that he heard the assailant say “this is MAGA country” during the attack.
Police have reviewed hundreds of hours of video from cameras in the area near the attack, but have not been able to find any evidence of the attack itself.
Earlier this week, Chicago police released an image showing men who are “potential individuals of interest”, but have not said they are suspects and the photos are not detailed.