In his first interview since reporting that he was attacked by two men in Chicago, Jussie Smollett said he was “pissed off” at what he called “attacks” from those who may have doubted his account.
As TheWrap first reported, “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts snagged the first interview with the “Empire” star since he told police that he was attacked in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood while walking to his apartment. According to Smollett, two men attacked him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs and referencing “MAGA.” A police statement said chemicals were poured on the “Empire” star’s face, and a rope placed around his neck.
But Smollett’s account has been questioned after the Chicago Police Department said the actor was slow to turn over material pertinent to the investigation.
“What is it that has you so angry? Is it the…attackers?” Roberts asked.
“Attackers, but it’s also the attacks,” Smollett responded. “It’s like, you know, at first, it was a thing of, like, ‘Listen, if I tell the truth then that’s it, ’cause it’s the truth.’ Then it became a thing of like, ‘Oh, how can you doubt that? Like, how do you– how do you not believe that? It’s the truth.'”
Police had asked for Smollett’s phone records because he said he was on a call with his manager, Brandon Z. Moore, during the attack.
On January 31, two days after the incident, CPD said that detectives “were not able to independently verify the statements as cell phone records were not provided to investigators when asked. Therefore we are not able to confirm this.”
Smollett did eventually turn over his phone records. But Chicago police said they were too heavily redacted to be useful to their investigation. A Chicago police spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, said in a statement, “We are very appreciative of the victim’s cooperation however the records provided do not meet the burden for a criminal investigation.”
On Tuesday, Smollett’s publicists pushed back, saying that the actor was only trying to protect “the privacy of personal contacts.”
“Any redacted information was intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack,” his reps said in a statement.
Smollett’s full interview with “GMA” airs Thursday at 7 a.m. EST.