CHICAGO (CBS) — Empire actor Jussie Smollett’s family is speaking out after the star was attacked in an alleged hate crime in Chicago early Tuesday morning.
Smollett’s family released a statement to CNN regarding the attack:
“In the early hours of Tuesday morning, our beloved son and brother, Jussie, was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack. We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice. Our family thanks everyone for their prayers and the huge amount of love he has received. We are thankful to our village for your immense support during this trying time. We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed. We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country. Oftentimes ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such. They will continue to occur until we hold each other accountable. Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions. Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall. We, as a family, will continue to work for love, equity and justice until it reigns supreme in our nation and all over the world.
With love & gratitude,
The Smollett Family”
This comes as some on social media have raised questions about the attack.
Police say the 36-year-old Empire cast member was walking home from a 24-hour Subway restaurant in the 300 block of E. Lower North Water Street around 2 a.m. when two men allegedly began yelling homophobic and racial slurs at the actor on North Lower Water Street near Smollett’s apartment.
According to Chicago police the actor was on the phone with his manager during the alleged incident when one of the attackers allegedly reference the president’s campaign slogan saying, “This is MAGA country.” But both Smollett and his manager refuse to turn their phones over to police.
Chicago police say along with the verbal attack Smollett reported the men threw an unknown substance on him and placed a rope around his neck.
Sources say Smollett left the rope on his neck roughly 45 minutes until police arrived.
Chicago police say they have located video that shows “potential persons of interest” wanted for questioning. The video does not depict an assault, police say, but the people are “seen in the vicinity of the alleged criminal incident during the alleged time of occurrence.”
But the alleged attack is not captured on the hundreds of surveillance videos the 12 detectives assigned to the case have poured through.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident.
CPD confirms they have the rope from the incident and are testing Smollett’s sweater for the unknown substance Smollett thrown on him.
But police say Smollett has been cooperative and has taken police on a walk through of the area in question.
Thursday President Donald Trump said he has seen the reports about the racially motivated attack.
“That I can tell you is horrible,” Trump said. “I’ve seen it, last night. I think that’s horrible. It doesn’t get worse as far as I’m concerned.”
Smollett is expected to sing to a sold out crow in Los Angeles Saturday. As of now the show is still scheduled.