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“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett said. “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.”
The actor added that he is frustrated over “certain inaccuracies” being reported in the press. Smollett has been accused on social media of being uncooperative with police and changing his story, which he says is untrue.
“I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level,” he said in his statement to Essence. “Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”
Smollett continued, “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.”
The LGBTQ activist signed his statement by writing, “With Love, respect & honor…Jussie.”
Smollett told Chicago police he was jumped by two men early Tuesday morning and beaten as he was on his way home from getting a bite at a Subway restaurant. He said the men attacked him, put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him believed to be bleach. On Thursday, Smollett’s family called the incident a “hate crime,” condemning it as “domestic terrorism.”
The story has taken on a political narrative, as the men, believed to be white, allegedly yelled “MAGA country” during the assault, a reference to President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Trump even spoke out about the incident, calling it “horrible,” adding, “It doesn’t get worse.”
Ellen Page riled some people up Thursday night after saying Vice President Mike Pence’s rhetoric is partly to blame in the attack. “The vice president of America wishes I didn’t have the love with my wife,” the Juno actress said on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. “He wanted to ban that in Indiana. He believes in conversion therapy.”
She continued, “He has hurt LGBTQ people so badly as the governor of Indiana, and I think the thing we need to know, and I hope my show Gaycation did this in terms of connecting the dots, in terms of what happened the other day to Jussie — I don’t know him personally, I send all of my love — connect the dots.”
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