UPDATE: Chicago police said on Feb. 16 that their investigation into Jussie Smollett’s reported attack “shifted” after they received information from two individuals they questioned. Citing anonymous law enforcement sources, CNN reported that police believe the actor may have paid two men to orchestrate the attack. Read more here.
“Empire” star Jussie Smollett took the stage Saturday in his first performance since he reported being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
Speaking out about the reported assault in an appearance at The Troubadour in West Hollywood, the actor delivered a message of hope and resilience.
“I’m not fully healed yet, but... I’m going to stand strong with you all,” he told the crowd as it erupted in cheers.
According to police, Smollett told them he was accosted last Tuesday in Chicago by two masked men shouting homophobic and racial slurs. He was beaten and doused in what was likely bleach. He also said the assailants wrapped a rope around his neck.
Toward the end of his show, Smollett took a moment to clarify details on the attack, noting that he had suffered bruises but no broken ribs and had gone to a doctor promptly. He also said he was not hospitalized and that his physicians in Los Angeles and Chicago had given him the green light to perform.
“And above all, I fought the fuck back,” he added, receiving applause.
Chicago detectives are in the midst of a hate crime investigation, collecting video, looking for potential witnesses and drawing up a timeline of the event in an effort to get to the bottom of the case.