A Statement From Jussie Smollett's Family Calls The Attack On Him For What It Is

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Two days after he was attacked in Chicago, actor Jussie Smollett's family released a statement condemning the "violent and unprovoked attack" on their son. In a statement issued on Thursday, the Empire star's family referred to Smollett as "a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed," and described what happened to him as "a racial and homophobic hate crime."

According to ABC News, Smollett — who is black and openly gay — was walking in Chicago early Tuesday when someone allegedly shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him. Citing the Chicago Police Department, ABC News reported that two men allegedly attacked Smollett by pouring "an unknown chemical substance" on him and wrapping a rope around his neck.

Smollett reportedly told police that his attackers had shouted "MAGA country" during the incident. His music manager, who was reportedly on the phone with him during the attack, told Variety that he "clearly" heard the words "MAGA country" being used, as well as a racial slur. According to TMZ, the two men who allegedly attacked Smollett were both white and wearing ski masks.

Chicago police are reportedly investigating the attack as a "possible hate crime," Politico reported, and have identified two persons of interest, per ABC News. The attack on Smollett swiftly sparked widespread outrage, with celebrities and lawmakers alike expressing solidarity. Singer Cher condemned the attack as an example of "villainy, racism, and homophobia," while California Rep. Maxine Waters slammed the "homophobic haters" who attacked him.

On Thursday, Smollett's family released the following statement, in which they expressed their gratitude for his safety and called for his attackers to be brought to justice:

Following the attack, the Chicago Police Department released photos of two persons of interest, and have requested the public's help in identifying them.