Per the Chicago Police Department, which is investigating the incident as a hate crime, Smollett was walking down the street early Tuesday morning when two individuals approached him and began yelling racial and homophobic slurs. The offenders then became physically violent, battering the actor with their hands and pouring an “unknown chemical substance” on him, per the CPD. At some point during the altercation, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around Smollett’s neck before fleeing the scene.
The actor also told police that the perpetrators referenced President Trump’s rallying cry, “Make America Great Again,” during the attack, per The Hollywood Reporter. (Trump later called the incident “horrible.”)
In a statement to Essence, Smollett began by assuring fans that “I’m OK,” adding that “my body is strong but my soul is stronger.”
Though the actor expressed frustration with “certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread” since the attack, he remains grateful for the community’s support and reiterated that such “cowardly attacks” happen often in the LGBTQ community.
“I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident,” Smollett said. “We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident, but I need a moment to process.”
Earlier this week, Smollett’s family also released a statement, calling the violence a “racial and homophobic hate crime.” Read Smollett’s full response below:
Let me start by saying that I’m OK. 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. 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. 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. 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.