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Gay 'Empire' actor breaks silence after Chicago attack (UPDATE)
2019-02-01

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Just days after saying he was attacked in an apparent hate crime in Chicago, openly gay Empire actor Jussie Smollett released a statement Feb. 1.

The statement was first published in Essence magazine.

"Let me start by saying that I'm OK," Smollett began. "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 added, "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," he concluded. "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."

Smollett's family released a statement saying it's standing behind the actor/musician.

UPDATE: Frank Gatson—the man who was with Jussie Smollett the night he was reportedly attacked in Chicago, and who is Smollett's choreographer—recently spoke about the incident.

Talking with Extra TV, Gatson said at the Feb. 6 amfAR New York Gala 2019, "I'm the one who called 911, I am the one who took him to the hospital, and it was so scary, man, that was a scary night—my stomach was numb," adding, "I'm just glad I was the old man at his apartment when he got there; I was responsible."

As for those who doubt what happened, Gatson said, "It is amazing to me how the white community really supports the LGBTQ community, but it's amazing how some Black families would rather their son be a murderer than be gay."

On Feb. 2, Smollett performed at West Hollywood's Troubadour club—his first public appearance since the alleged attack.

"The most important thing that I can say is to keep it simple and say thank you and I'm OK," the Empire actor said to a packed crowd, according to Deadline. "I'm not fully healed yet, but I'm going to and I'm going to stand strong with you all." Empire co-creator Lee Daniels, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and members of Smollett's family were among those at the club.

Smollett added, "I had to be here tonight. ... I couldn't let those motherfuckers win!"

The original statement can be seen at www.essence.com/entertainment/only-essence/jussie-smollett-breaks-silence-vicious-attack/. The Deadline item is at https://deadline.com/2019/02/jussie-smollett-assualt-first-appearance-troubadour-lee-daniels-maxine-waters-weho-1202548463/.

The Extra item is at extratv.com/2019/02/06/the-man-with-jussie-smollett-the-night-of-attack-speaks-out/.


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