CHICAGO — “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is speaking out for the first time following his claims two men put a rope around his neck, threw a chemical at him and then yelled racial and homophobic slurs.
In an exclusive statement to Essence, he said: “I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent 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.”
Surveillance video showed Smollett with a rope as he returned home, but there is no video of an attack.
Smollett did not want to turn over his cell phone to police, but his representative told TMZ phone records are being gathered to turn over to authorities. Smollett and his manager said they were on the phone together when the attack happened.
“He’s been very cooperative with us and I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be cooperative,” Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson told WGN on Friday. “We are making some gains in the investigation, and we’ll continue to investigate it.”
When WGN asked Johnson about Smollett turning over his phone records, Johnson said: “We’re working with him in that regard. I mean, think about it, how uncomfortable would it be for you to be without your cell phone for a few hours? And like I said, he’s been cooperative.”
TMZ quotes Smollett’s River North neighbor as seeing a suspicious man outside their apartment building moments before Smollett was reportedly attacked.
She said the man had a rope sticking out from his clothing.