Jussie Smollett Speaks Out For The First Time After Violent, Bigoted Attack

by Thea Glassman
Image via Theo Wargo/Getty

Jussie Smollett has spoken out after being viciously attacked and beaten

This week, Empire star Jussie Smollett was brutally attacked by two men in Chicago. He told the police, who are investigating the incident as a hate crime, that the men yelled homophobic and racial slurs, threw a chemical substance on him, and tied a rope around his neck. The actor has spoken out after being hospitalized for injuries resulting from the attack, and assured his fans that he will persevere.

Smollett began his statement to ESSENCE by saying that he’s physically okay. “My body is strong but my soul is stronger,” he wrote. “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 went on to say that he’s working with authorities, that his account was “100% factual and consistent on every level,” and he believes that justice will be served to the men who attacked him.

“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 wrote. “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.”

Smollett signed off his note: “with Love, respect & honor…Jussie.”

Smollett’s family also penned a deeply powerful letter about the pain and suffering that is being inflicted on the LGBTQ community every single day. In an Instagram post following the attack, the Smollett family emphasized that this hate crime against Jussie was not an isolated incident.

“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,” the family wrote.

They also echoed Jussie’s sentiment about leading with love – while still encouraging people to stand up for what’s right.

“Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions,” the post concluded. “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.”

Sending so much strength to Jussie and the Smollett family during this incredibly difficult time. And sending strength to the countless other people in the LGBTQ community who have been forced to endure this completely unacceptable trauma, violence, and abuse.