Jussie Smollett has made his first public appearance since being attacked earlier this week.
Around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, 36-year-old Smollett, who plays a gay musician on the FOX drama Empire, was walking in Chicago when two men attacked him.
The two masked assailants, who were photographed in a later released surveillance footage, yelled out "MAGA country!" and "Aren't you that f****t Empire n*****?" They then got into an altercation with Smollett where they threw bleach on him and wrapped a noose around his neck. But as Smollett recently noted, "I fought the f*** back.”
According to Deadline, Smollett made his first public appearance since the attack through a Saturday night concert performance at the Troubadour in West Hollywood.
During the concert, Smollett spoke to the crowd about the incident and his thoughts since then.
"The most important thing that I can say is to keep it simple and say thank you and I’m okay,” Smollett said to the crowd. “I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to, and I’m going to stand strong with you all.”
“I had to be here tonight. I couldn’t let those motherfuckers win!" he exclaimed.
"I will always stand for love, I will never stand for anything other than that. Regardless of what anyone else says, I will only stand for love and I hope you will all stand with me.”
Smollett also made sure to clarify incorrectly reported information about the attack.
“There’s been a lot of stuff that’s been said about me that’s absolutely not true,” he said, reading from notes. “I was bruised but my ribs were not cracked, they were not broken. I went to the doctor immediately… I was not hospitalized. Both my doctors in L.A. and Chicago cleared me to perform, but said to take care, obviously. And above all, I fought the fuck back.”
To close out the concert, Smollett noted how touched he is by all of the support and how he'll stay vigilant against anti-gay and racist people like his attackers
“I just want to say that I stand on so many backs of so many people,” Smollett said before leaving the stage. “I stand on the backs of the Lee Danielss. I stand on the backs of the Wilson Cruzs and the Bayard Rustins and the Langston Hughess and the James Baldwins and the Alvin Aileys, and I pray to god that I made y’all proud.”
h/t: Deadline, Entertainment Tonight