Jussie Smollett Releases First Statement After Attack

'I'm OK,' says the actor as investigation continues in Chicago
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2019 1:01 PM CST
Jussie Smollett Releases First Statement After Attack
This image provided by the Chicago Police Department and taken from surveillance video shows two people of interest in an attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett walking along a street in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago, early Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.   (Courtesy of Chicago Police Department via AP)

"I'm OK." That's the first thing Jussie Smollett wants supporters to know following reports that two men attacked him in Chicago. “My body is strong but my soul is stronger," the African-American gay actor tells Essence. The Empire star says he is fully cooperating with police and "despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.” Police have made no arrests in the case but are looking for two people of interest spotted on surveillance video. "He’s a victim," police chief Eddie Johnson tells NBC Chicago, adding that Smollett has "been very cooperative with us."

The actor says two men assaulted him about 2am Tuesday, dousing him with a liquid believed to be bleach, telling him he's in "MAGA country," and putting a rope tied like a noose around his neck. Smollett went to the hospital and has since been discharged. The actor was reportedly on the phone with his manager when the attack took place, though he has declined to hand over his phone. The police chief says he will not force the issue. "We don't treat him like a criminal," says Johnson. (Days before the attack, someone sent Smollett white powder in the mail.)

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