Jussie Smollett Gives Tearful First Interview After Alleged Hate Crime: I’m ‘Pissed Off’ by Doubters
Empire actor Jussie Smollett sat down with ABC News’ Robin Roberts for an interview set to air Thursday, in which he expressed frustration with the questions surrounding his allegation of assault by Trump supporters in Chicago.
In the clip ABC previewed ahead of his full interview for Good Morning America, Smollett said he was “pissed off” after being attacked in a possible hate crime. When Robert asked who or what he was angry with, Smollett answered with the attackers, but it’s also the attacks.”
“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. And then it became a thing of like, ‘Oh, it’s not necessarily that you don’t believe that this is the truth, you don’t even want to see the truth.”
Last month, Smollett drew media attention over his claim that he was harassed and physically by two people who taunted him with racial and homophobic slurs. At the time, TMZ reported that Smollett’s attackers berated him with pro-Donald Trump slogans, but the police have never incorporated that detail into their statements on the incident, and there have never been any corroborating accounts to support TMZ.
The Chicago Police Department is treating the attack on Smollett as a “racially-charged assault and battery,” but they’ve expressed dissatisfaction with the phone records Smollett’s team have given them as they continue to investigate. A Chicago PD spokesman recently said the partially-redacted records were “insufficient to corroborate some of the information” regarding the case.
Smollett’s team insists the redactions were done to protect the privacy of contacts and people who aren’t relevant to the attack.
“Chicago Police have not told us that they are rejecting any records, nor have they expressed concerns about the records to us,” Smollett’s reps have said. “Therefore, we don’t feel compelled to be bated into responding to uncorroborated press reports. We are dealing directly with the Chicago Police Department.”
There’ve been other recent rumors that the actor has changed his story or been reluctant to provide more information.
The full interview will air tomorrow on ABC at 7:00 A.M. ET.
Watch above, via ABC.
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com