Jussie Smollett (Pic: Dominick D)
Actor Jussie Smollett has revealed that he fought the two men who attacked him in a terrifying homophobic and racist hate crime.
The Empire star defied his abusers by performing in Los Angeles over the weekend. “I had to be here tonight,” he said, with his voice cracking, to cheers from the audience. “I couldn’t let those motherfuckers win. I will always stand for love.”
In a video posted online, he also spoke to the supportive crowd about the attack to clarify what actually happened.
“I was bruised but my ribs were not cracked, they were not broken. I went to the doctor immediately, my friend Fred Jackson drove me, but I was not hospitalised,” Smollett said.
He continued: “Both my doctors in Chicago and Los Angeles cleared me to perform but they said to take care obviously. And above all, I fought the fuck back!” He then joked that, “I’m the gay Tupac.”
It was the first time Smollett, 36, had been seen in public since he was attacked in Chicago last week Tuesday. In the early hours of the morning, he was accosted by two men wearing ski masks who shouted homophobic and racist slurs at him.
Smollett was beaten in the face and had an unknown substance, possibly bleach, thrown onto him. The men also put a rope around his neck before fleeing the scene.
The Chicago Police Department, which is treating the incident as a “possible hate crime”, has released images of two individuals who are “people of interest” in the attack. The photos, however, are extremely unclear and depict two figures shrouded in darkness with no visible facial features.
Smollett, who is back at work on the set of Empire, ended Saturday’s show by calling on the audience to, “Be as black, be as brown, be as gay as the fuck you want to be. Now is the time. Be blacker, be gayer, do it right the fuck now.”