“I fought back”: Jussie Smollett speaks in public for first time since ‘hate crime’ attack

The 'Empire' star has clarified details about a vicious assault

Empire star Jussie Smollett has clarified the details of an alleged homophobic and racially motivated attack in Chicago last month.

The 35-year-old actor and singer told fans at a concert at West Hollywood’s Troubadour club on Saturday (February 2) that he wasn’t hospitalised following the January 29 assault, as previously reported.

CNN reports that he told the crowd that he was left with bruises but went to see a doctor immediately instead of going to hospital. He also clarified that his ribs were neither cracked nor broken, as had also been previously reported.

Additionally, he revealed that he defended himself during the attack. “I had to be here tonight, y’all, I couldn’t let those [expletives]… win,” he said. “Above all I fought … [expletive] back.”

He said that he isn’t “fully healed yet,” before adding, “But I’m going to (be), and I’m gonna stand strong with y’all.”

The incident has been described by the Chicago Police Department as a “possible racially-charged assault and battery.”

Speaking to Essence last week, Smollett said: “Let me start by saying that I am okay…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 put into words.”

Jussie Smollett

Yesterday, Smollett’s family also issued a statement about the incident in which they thanked people for their support whilst also speaking out about the incident in more detail.

The statement read: “Our family thanks everyone for their prayers and the huge amount of love he has received. We are thankful to our village for your immense support during this trying time.

“Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed. We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country. Oftentimes ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such. They will continue to occur until we hold each other accountable.”

The statement concluded: “Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions. Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall. We, as a family, will continue to work for love, equity and justice until it reigns supreme in our nation and all over the world.”

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Because there’s a light in him that cannot be dimmed, because we are a family of joyful warriors, we will not let this get the best of us. Although this is a picture from happier times, this is the spirit to which we chose to move forward…they will not steal, our joy. ✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽 ________________________________________________________Statement from our family: “ 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. Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice. Our family thanks everyone for their prayers and the huge amount of love he has received. We are thankful to our village for your immense support during this trying time. We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed. We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country. Oftentimes ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such. They will continue to occur until we hold each other accountable. Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions. Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall. We, as a family, will continue to work for love, equity and justice until it reigns supreme in our nation and all over the world. With love & gratitude, The Smollett Family”

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Adding to his own statement, Smollett went on to echo the words of his family, saying that such incidents are not rare. He said: “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.”

On the day of the attack The Chicago Police Department released further information about the “hate crime” incident. They wrote: “A 36-year-old man was walking…when two unknown offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him.

“The offenders began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim. At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck. The offenders fled the scene.

“The victim self-transported to Northwestern Hospital and is [in] good condition. Area central detectives are investigating.”

Smollett was in Chicago ahead of a concert that he was due to perform. The night before, the actor and singer posted in Instagram, saying that he had arrived in the city “after spending 7 hours on a plane for a 2 hour flight.”

LGBTQ campaigners GLADD released a statement following the incident, offering help. They said: “GLADD reached out to Fox and Jussie’s team today to offer assistance as well as support for him. Jussie is a true champion for LGBTQ people and is beloved by the community and allies around the world.”

The Chicago Police Department have asked that anyone with information about the incident should contact 312-747-8382 or report it anonymously to www.cpdtip.com.