Actor/singer Jussie Smollett is speaking out following an alleged hate-fueled attack that sent him to a Chicago hospital earlier this week. In an exclusive statement to ESSENCE, the Empire star insists he’s been truthful about what occurred during the incident and expressed gratitude for all of the support.

“Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” Smollett wrote. “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.”

Initial reports claimed two men attacked him in the early hours of Tuesday (January 29) and threw bleach on him, put a noose around his throat and yelled, “This is MAGA country.”

Smollett has been accused of lying about the incident on social media. But according to TMZ, Chicago police have confirmed Smollett was seen with a rope around his neck in surveillance footage of his apartment building

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