In an alleged homophobic and racist attack, actor Jussie Smollett was beaten up by two men early on Tuesday morning in Chicago, shortly after he walked out of a Subway restaurant outlet. The Empire actor, who plays a gay character in the show and also came out as one soon after the show, was able to reach the hospital by himself after the attack left him injured. Amid his colleagues and friends from the industry lending him strong support, Smollett has now broken the silence.
"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," he said in a statement to Essence. He also added he was in touch with the authorities and had a firm belief that justice would 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," Smollett added.
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Smollett's revelation about his sexual orientation had happened when he appeared for an episode of Ellen DeGeneres' show. The actor let out how a part of the internet was sending him hate messages after his Empire character came out as a gay. To not talk about his sexuality all these days, he said, didn't mean he was 'closeted' but he was concerned about the family's safety.
"It was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet, there’s never been a closet that I’ve been in… I don’t have a closet. But I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home," he said at the show.