'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett Breaks Silence for First Time After Attack

Jussie Smollett is speaking out for the first time since two men allegedly physically attacked him while using racial and homophobic slurs earlier this week.

The Empire star let fans know he was "OK" after the attack that police are investigating as a possible hate crime.

"Let me start by saying that I'm OK," Smollett told Essence 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."

He also addressed misinformation circulating about the incident, dispelling rumors on social media that his story has changed.

"I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level. Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served," the 35-year-old actor said.

"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," he concluded. "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."

"With Love, respect & honor... Jussie," he signed his statement.

Smollett's statement came the day after his family thanked fans for their support and said they are "hopeful" that police will find the men responsible for the alleged attack and "bring them to justice."

"We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime," Smollett's family said in their statement. "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," Smollett's family added.

As previously reported, Smollett alleged that he was approached by his attackers, who were yelling racial and homophobic slurs, around 2 a.m. Tuesday. They then proceeded to assault him, pouring an unknown chemical substance that could be bleach on him before wrapping a rope around his neck. He was briefly hospitalized Tuesday before being discharged.

Chicago police have scoured surveillance footage from cameras nearby and released photos of two people of interest in the case. No arrests have been made.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump condemned the attack against Jussett, calling it "horrible."


"I think that's horrible. It doesn't get worse, as far as I'm concerned," he told reporters.

Smollett is reportedly still on for his Los Angeles concert on Saturday, where he is scheduled to perform at the famed West Hollywood venue the Troubadour.