Live

Watch CBSN Live

Jussie Smollett breaks his silence after alleged hate-crime assault: "Justice will be served"

Jussie Smollett speaks out on alleged attack

Actor Jussie Smollett said he is "OK" after reporting to Chicago police he was attacked earlier this week. In a statement to ESSENCE, Smollett said, "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."

A gay cast member of the Fox show "Empire," Smollett, told police two white men shouting racial epithets and gay slurs beat him up, doused him with an unknown chemical and tied a rope around is neck after he left a Subway restaurant around 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Police announced Wednesday they're looking for two persons of interest who were seen on surveillance cameras. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said they are not considered suspects and police want to question them because they might have information about what happened.

30-jan-19-community-alert-pic-1-300-block-of-lower-east-north-water.png
Chicago detectives are seeking to identify and interview the two individuals in this surveillance footage, police said on January 30, 2019.  Chicago police department

Sources said the video that identifies the persons of interest also shows Smollett with a rope around his neck. He told police the attackers allegedly yelled "this is MAGA country," a reference to the president's campaign slogan.

In his statement to ESSENCE, Smollett addressed rumors suggesting he hasn't been truthful with police.

"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," he said.

Smollett's family released their own statement, saying he was the victim of a "racial and homophobic hate crime." It's a sentiment Smollett reiterated.

"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," he said.

On Friday, police superintendent Eddie Johnson spoke carefully about the case.

"He is a victim and we treat him like a victim," he said. "We have no reason to think he's not being genuine with us."

In addition to the police search for the persons of interest, the FBI is investigating a threatening letter that was sent to the Fox studio in Chicago last week.

View CBS News In