Playing it safe. Jussie Smollett, who was attacked in an apparent hate crime that left him hospitalized in Chicago on Tuesday, January 29, has canceled a scheduled meet and greet with fans in L.A. over safety concerns, TMZ reports.
According to the outlet, ticket-holders for the Empire actor’s show at the Troubadour on Saturday, February 2, received an email informing them that Smollett would not be appearing for the meet and greet portion of the show.
“Jussie is so honored to perform for his fans, friends and family on Saturday night,” the email read. “However, please forgive us. For security reasons we cannot accommodate any meet & greets. Your meet & greet upgrade can either be refunded, or donated to the Black AIDS Institute in your name … Thank you for understanding and thank you for your continuous love and support.”Earlier on Friday, the Marshall star, 35, spoke out about the attack for the first time. “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,” he said in a statement to Essence on Friday, February 1.
The actor continued: “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. 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.”One day prior, the Mighty Ducks star’s family released a statement to Us Weekly about the incident, saying, “In the early hours of Tuesday morning, our beloved son and brother, Jussie, was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack. We want to be clear — this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed.”Celebrities, including Smollett’s Empire costars, Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, also spoke out against his attackers and gave some insight into the “Hurt People” singer’s state of mind.
“You know, he’s angry, but I know Jussie,” the Oscar nominee, 49, said during an appearance on Good Morning America on Wednesday, January 30. “Jussie’s anger will dissipate and he will forgive these people for what they did. But he won’t — and we cannot — forget their actions. They have to be forgiven because it was done out of ignorance.”
Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed to Us on Tuesday that Smollett, who spoke about his sexuality to Out magazine in March 2016, was hospitalized after being assaulted by two unidentified subjects who yelled “racial and homophobic slurs toward him.”
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“The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim,” Guglielmi told Us. “At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck. … Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime.”
Smollett transported himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and was released on Tuesday in “good condition.”
Chicago police confirmed to Us on Wednesday that they had found potential persons of interest in a surveillance video.