Speed Reads

breaking his silence

Actor Jussie Smollett speaks about 'cowardly' attack: 'Justice will be served'

Empire star Jussie Smollett is speaking out for the first time since he was assaulted in what police are treating as a possible hate crime.

Smollett in a statement released to Essence on Friday said that he's "OK" and that "my body is strong but my soul is stronger." He expressed his gratitude for the "outpouring of love and support" he has received since Chicago police said he was assaulted by two men who screamed racist and homophobic slurs at him, also covering him with a chemical substance believed to be bleach and tying a rope around his neck. Smollett later told police that the attackers yelled, "This is MAGA country," reports NBC News.

Smollett said he is "working with authorities and [has] been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level" and that while "certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations" have been reported, "I still believe that justice will be served." Police had said on Thursday that Smollett declined to turn over phone records, which they were interested in because he said he was on a call with his manager at the time of the assault, NBC News reports.

"As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers, and non-gender conforming siblings daily," Smollett wrote. "I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident." While saying he will go into more detail about the incident once he has had time to process, he ended on the note that "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."