GLAAD renewed their support for Jussie Smollett on Thursday, saying the “Empire” star had been “doubly victimized” first with his initial attack, and then later by “speculation” about the incident from the media.
“Jussie Smollett was victimized first in a hate-motivated and violent attack in Chicago and has since been doubly victimized as the subject of speculation by the media industry and broader culture,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, said in a statement.
“Jussie is rising above hate, racism, homophobia, and doubt surrounding the attack and instead using his voice and talent to fight back against the rising rates of violence against Black and LGBTQ people, as well as those who live at the intersection of those identities,” she continued.
“GLAAD joined with Color of Change to condemn the racism and homophobia that fueled the physical violence against Jussie and today we double down on that stance, while also calling out a culture where LGBTQ people of color are too often the last to be believed. Jussie’s experience is sadly not unique in today’s America and we all must lock arms to change that.”
On Thursday, Smollett sat for an interview with “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts, offering a detailed account of the attack and vigorously pushing back against rumors from online skeptics.
“I have to acknowledge the lies, and the hate,” he said. “And it feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more. A lot more. And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now.”
According to Smollett, the attack took place on Jan. 29 at 2 a.m., after two men jumped him, yelled racial epithets and placed a rope around his neck. A police statement said unspecified chemicals were poured on the star’s face, and a rope placed around his neck.
Much has been made of Smollett’s decision not to fully hand over his phone records from the time of the incident. What has been turned over has been limited.
“We are very appreciative of the victim’s cooperation however the records provided do not meet the burden for a criminal investigation” Chicago police spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, said in an earlier statement.
On “GMA,” Smollett said he was reluctant to hand over his full records because he wanted to keep his personal phone information private.
“They wanted me to give my phone to the tech for three to four hours. I’m sorry but — I’m not gonna do that,” he said. “Because I have private pictures and videos and numbers: my partner’s number, my family’s number, my castmate’s number, my friends’ numbers, my private emails, my private songs, my private voice memos.”