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'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett stands '100%' behind claims of racist, homophobic attack

He said he is working with police to find the two men behind the alleged assault in Chicago.
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"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett on Friday stood behind allegations that two men savagely beat him in Chicago after hurling racist and homophobic slurs.

The 36-year-old actor — allegedly roughed up by two men early Tuesday when he went out for a bite to eat — told family, friends and fans that he appreciates their support.

"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," he said in a statement addressed to "Beautiful People."

"The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words."

Chicago police said they are investigating Smollett's allegations as a possible hate crime.

A department spokesman revealed Thursday that Smollett refused to hand over his cellphone and cellphone records that could help investigators.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson told NBC Chicago that detectives won't demand the phone or records.

"The allegations as described to us are horrendous, horrible, and quite frankly cowardly," Johnson said Friday in response to questions at an unrelated news conference.

"He is a victim, and we treat him like a victim. He's been very cooperative," Johnson said. "We are making gains in the investigation and hopefully we'll bring it to a successful resolution soon."

"We have no reason to think he's not being genuine with us," Johnson said.

Smollett didn't address the cellphone issue in his statement, but insisted he is cooperating with police.

"I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level," he said. "Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served."

Smollett, who came out as gay in a backstage interview with Ellen DeGeneres in 2015, plays a gay character on the Fox hit "Empire," said his attack was not an "isolated incident."

"As my family stated, these types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily," he said. "I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident. "

The actor promised he will soon reveal more details about the alleged attack.

"We will talk soon and I will address all details of this horrific incident but I need a moment to process," according to Smollett. "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."