NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Actor Jussie Smollett of 'Empire' has spoken out for the first time since he was the victim of an alleged homophobic assault by two men after leaving a Subway shop in Chicago.
In a statement to Essence magazine Friday, Smollett said he was doing 'OK.'
"Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” said Smollett. “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, 36, who is black and gay and who plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox television show, said two men beat him, subjected him to racist and homophobic insults, threw an "unknown chemical substance" on him and put a thin rope around his neck before fleeing.
“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," said Smollett.
Smollett returned to his apartment Tuesday morning after getting food and his manager called police from there about 40 minutes later, police said. When officers arrived, the actor had cuts and scrapes on his face and the "thin rope" around his neck that he said had been put there by his assailant, he said.
Smollett later went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital after police advised him to do so.
The FBI is also investigating a threatening letter targeting Smollett that was sent last week to the Fox studio in Chicago where "Empire" is filmed, police 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.” Smollett signed his statement by writing, “With Love, respect & honor…Jussie.”
On Wedensday, police in Chicago located a surveillance camera that shows “potential persons of interest” who are wanted for questioning in the alleged assault.