“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett said in a statement to Essence. “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.”
“I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level,” he continued. “Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”
“As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers, and non-gender conforming siblings daily,” the statement concluded. “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.”
According to a statement released by the Chicago Police Department, Smollett was beaten by two men who approached him by yelling out “racial and homophobic slurs” at approximately 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning in the 300 block of E. North Water St. They proceeded to assault Smollett and “poured an unknown chemical substance” on him.
The two men are also said to have put a rope around Smollett’s neck before fleeing on foot. Smollett then transported himself to an area hospital.
In an interview with Variety, Smollett’s music manager, who was on the phone with Smollett at the time the attack occurred, confirmed earlier reports that the two assailants had shouted, “This is MAGA country” at Smollett during the assault.
“I heard that clearly. I heard the scuffle and I heard the racial slur,” he said.
The Chicago PD has since released photographs of two persons of interest in the case and are asking the public for their help in identifying them.