Actor Jussie Smollett, who has been the focus of a torrent of media attention since he was the apparent victim of an attack in Chicago earlier this week, commented for the first time about the incident.
The New York Times reports that Smollett’s publicist released a statement in which Smollett said: “Let me start by saying that I’m O.K. 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 theories that have circulated on social media suggesting his account of the incident may not have been accurate.
“I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level,” he said. “Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”
“Smollett, who is black and gay, had reported being attacked in Chicago by two men around 2 a.m. on Tuesday as he was heading back from a late meal to the apartment where he was staying,” The Times reports. “He said they were wearing masks and yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured some kind of substance on him and put a noose around his neck before fleeing. He was briefly treated at a hospital for cuts on his face and neck.”
The report adds: “A spokesman for the Chicago Police, who are treating the case as a possible hate crime, said that investigators had found video of Smollett entering the apartment building with some sort of rope around his neck resembling a noose. On Wednesday, the police said they were searching for two ‘potential persons of interest’ spotted on a surveillance camera in the area where Smollett said the attack occurred. So far, the two people have not been identified.”
Smollett is one of the stars of the Fox drama series “Empire,” which has been filming in Chicago.