'Empire' Actor Defends Himself in 1st Comments Since Attack

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(AP) "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett is disputing rumors circulating on social media that he has been less than cooperative with the investigation into a racially-charged attack in which he says two masked men beat him and wrapped a rope around his neck in downtown Chicago.

In his first public statement since the attack early Tuesday, the black and gay actor said in a news release that he has been completely honest and "consistent on every level" with the police. He also said he is grateful for the outpouring of support he's received.

Police are searching for surveillance footage of the attack, but they say video does show Smollett returning home with a rope around his neck just after he says he was beaten.

Several LGBTQ and black activist groups are planning to hold a rally in New York City on Friday evening for Smollett and other LGBTQ survivors of violent crime.


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"Beautiful People,

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. 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. 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.

With Love, respect & honor...

Jussie."


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