Culture

Jussie Smollett Slams Conspiracy Theories About Attack: I've Been '100% Factual and Consistent On Every Level'

Empire actor Jussie Smollett is speaking out for the first time since his brutal attack on Tuesday in Chicago. He assured fans that he's recovering and grateful for the support he's received.

"Let me start by saying that I'm OK," Smollett, 36, said in a statement to 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."

Smollett continued, "I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent 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."

Smollett was attacked shortly after his flight from New York's LaGuardia Airport touched down in Chicago early Tuesday. Two unknown men allegedly approached him "yelling out racial and homophobic slurs," the Chicago Police Department (CPD) said. The assailants lashed at his head repeatedly. One man apparently wrapped his head with a noose. The attackers fled the scene thereafter. Police said the attack is being investigated as a hate crime.

Smollett was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment and released later that day. 

Jussie Smollett Speaks Out on Attack Jussie Smollett spoke out about his attack. Here, Smollett is pictured attending the 2018 Fox Network Upfront at Wollman Rink, Central Park on May 14, 2018, in New York City. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

In concluding his statement to Essence, Smollett wanted fans to recognize that incidents like his aren't uncommon. He also said he'd eventually share more details on his attack.

"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 added. "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."

On Wednesday, the CPD announced they had obtained and would release images from surveillance video footage of Smollett's suspected attackers. The photos showed the two men's silhouettes from behind as they walked down a street early Tuesday.

"While the video does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously and wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed," Anthony Guglielmi‏, the CPD's chief communications officer, tweeted Wednesday.

Smollett's sister, actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell, released a statement from the Empire actor's family on Thursday via Instagram. The statement accompanied a photograph that showed Smollett pictured all-smiles with his family.

"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," the statement read. "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."

Join the Discussion