“In the early hours of Tuesday morning, our beloved son and brother, Jussie, was the victim of a violence and unprovoked attack,” the Smollett family said in a statement to Us Weekly on Thursday, January 31. “We want to be clear — this was a racial and homophobic hate crime.”
The family said the actor, 36, has been working closely with authorities since he was hospitalized and “his story has never changed.” The Smolletts added: “We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed.”
The family also raised awareness about “targeted hate crimes” that happen far too often in society. “These are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such,” they said. “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.”
The statement concluded on a powerful note: “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.”
Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed to Us on Tuesday that Smollett was hospitalized after he was attacked by two people while they yelled “racial and homophobic slurs toward him.”
“The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim.” Guglielmi added. “At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck.”
On Wednesday, January 30, the Chicago Police Department identified “potential persons of interest wanted for questioning in reference to” the attack. Smollett has yet to speak publicly about what happened, but he has received tons of support from fans, friends and fellow celebrities.
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