Two weeks after Jussie Smollett was allegedly attacked on the streets of Chicago, the Empire star today hit back at inferences that he has changed his story or been reticent with the ongoing police investigation.
“Chicago PD has repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie’s account of what happened that night consistent and credible,” a statement put out by representatives for Smollett proclaimed on Tuesday. “Superintendent Johnson has been clear from day one that Jussie is a victim,” the remarks added (READ SMOLLETT’S FULL STATEMENT BELOW)
“We are continuing to work closely with the Chicago PD and remain confident that they will find Jussie’s attackers and bring them to justice.”
The strong assertion comes a day after a spokesman for the Chicago PD said that the phone records Smollett handed over were “insufficient to corroborate some of the information.” That information is said to include whether the Fox drama actor was speaking to his music manager when a portion of the apparently racist and homophobic assault occurred in the early hours of January 29.
Any redacted information was intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack,” Smollett’s Sunshine Sachs released statement today noted in direct response to the use of the loaded term “insufficient.”
Smollett, who plays openly gay Jamal Lyon on Empire, was just back in the Windy City where the Fox drama is filmed on January 29 when around 2 AM that morning two men began screaming derogatory slurs at him on the street near where he lives. The duo then started striking Smollett again and again. They are also said to have poured an unknown chemical substance over him now thought to have been bleach.
Additionally, and perhaps even more horrifying, the assailants were said to have put a rope around Smollett’s neck before leaving the scene.
After reporting the incident to police and conducting an initial interview with them, Smollett drove to Northwestern Hospital to be seen by doctors. Bruised but not admitted to the facility, the Empire star returned to his local apartment that morning and was said to be in good condition, police said.
Very soon afterwards, Chicago PD said they were treating the incident as a “possible hate crime.” On January 31, one day after local law enforcement released photos of “persons of interest” in the matter, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi referred to the matter as an “assault and battery case.”
On the day of the attack, 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment
said in a statement that they were “deeply saddened and outraged” by the assault.
At a previously scheduled show at the Troubadour in West Hollywood on February 2, Smollett directly addressed the matter on everybody’s minds. As the FBI assisted investigation continued back in Chicago, the performer told the packed club “I had to be here tonight!” He added to roars of support from the audience, “I couldn’t let those motherf*ckers win!”
Empire itself shut down for a day almost right after the attack on Smollett but that was because of the harsh polar vortex hitting the Midwest that week. Smollett was back at work on the series on February 4, Empire showrunner Brett Mahoney confirmed to Deadline.
“Jussie is a proud, gay black man, and I’m not sure if the cowards were trying to beat the pride, gay or black out of him but he’s strong and we’re happy he’s back at work,” the executive producer of the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong created show said onstage during part of Fox’s TCA presentation on February 6.
Read the full statement from Jussie Smollett’s reps here:
Jussie is the victim here, which has been stated by the Superintendent of Police. Jussie has voluntarily provided his phone records from within an hour of the attack and given multiple statements to police. Chicago PD has repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie’s account of what happened that night consistent and credible. Superintendent Johnson has been clear from day one that Jussie is a victim. We are continuing to work closely with the Chicago PD and remain confident that they will find Jussie’s attackers and bring them to justice.
Any redacted information was intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack.
Chicago Police have not told us that they are rejecting any records, nor have they expressed concerns about the records to us. Therefore, we don’t feel compelled to be bated into responding to uncorroborated press reports. We are dealing directly with the Chicago Police Department.