15 February, 2019
But he said he failed to get a good description of them as their faces were obscured. The actor said the attack stopped and his assailants ran away, but he found that they put a rope on around his neck and splashed on him what he believed to be bleach. Both Smollett and members of his family have contended the actor has been honest about the alleged attack, maintaining his story has not changed since the alleged incident.
Smollett, who identifies as gay and plays a gay character on the series, said he respects victims of hate crimes too much to lie about what happened.
"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 a lot", he said. "A lot more", the Empire star told Roberts. "I'm sorry but - I'm not gonna do that", Smollett said.
With ABC News censoring the comment on taste grounds, Smollett said: "I can only go off of their words". And then we started tussling.
"I never said that". Smollett explained that this was a false add-on to what he said earlier in the interview about how his attacker supposed yelled pro-Donald Trump slogans during the assault. I'm not going to go out to get a tuna salad sandwich to meet somebody. "That's ridiculous. And it's offensive", Smollett told GMA. Asked why he had taken so long to contact police after the incident he said: "There's a level of pride there".
"I was there. For me, when that was released, I was like OK, we're getting somewhere", he said. "I am not weak and we as a people are not weak".
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Smollett later went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital after police advised him to do so.
Police have not found any surveillance video of the event, which they say is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
Smollett's publicist released a statement this week noting that "any redacted information was meant to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack", something Smollett reiterated in his GMA interview.
On Monday, Smollett handed over the redacted phone records after the department publicly stated that he had declined to hand over his phone. Police have said the records are insufficient for a criminal investigation.
"Any redacted information was meant to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack", his statement said.
"Jussie is the victim here, which has been stated by the Superintendent of Police".
"Chicago Police have not told us that they are rejecting any records, nor have they expressed concerns about the records to us".