Jussie Smollett gives details about his attack and says he’s ‘forever changed’

Smollett's statement said he had good reasons for turning over limited information.

Jussie Smollett has sat down for an extensive interview with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts to speak about the night of his alleged violent hate crime attack.

Smollett told ABC News' Roberts that the police said their tech expert would need "three or four hours" to examine the phone. "It's the attackers, but it's also the attacks".

The 36-year-old gay actor/musician contacted police in the early morning hours of January 29 to report that he'd been attacked around 2 a.m. outside a Chicago Subway restaurant by two men who beat him, yelled racial and homophobic slurs and placed a rope around his neck before running off. His family has deemed it a hate attack, and the actor has been supported by a surge of sympathy on social media, but doubters have also questioned his account. The Chicago police have not found any surveillance video evidence and have made no arrests. He said he didn't respond at first-"I don't answer to Empire"-but finally did when the person yelled slurs (Smollett is black and gay)".

To Smollett, it feels like if the attackers had been Muslim, Black, or Mexican, then people would have believed him more, and it's because of the state of this country that they can't believe this of white people. "Like, how do you not believe that?' It's the truth".

Smollett said he didn't initially want to give police his cellphone for their investigation because the device contains private content and phone numbers.

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The actor said he doesn't "have any doubt" that the two people in the surveillance image released by police are his alleged attackers. "Who says, "F- Empire n-,' 'This MAGA country, n-,' ties a noose around your neck and pours bleach on you, and this is just a friendly fight?" he asked". Let's not forget that we didn't get anti-lynching legislation until (checks calendar) 2018, and that the House of Representatives still needs to vote on it, and Donald Trump needs to sign it before it can become law.

"I went to the Subway, got my order", Smollett continued. I noticed the rope and I started screaming. It's all I know. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in an email the persons of interest were identified using "advance technology, interviews with the victim and witnesses and transportation records".

"Yes, there's all of these things, which I have not been on in years", Smollett said, referring to gay meet-up apps. He said he fought back and later gave police a description as best as he was able.

"I understand how hard it will be to find them, but we got to", he added.

He says he left the rope and clothes on when police arrived "because I wanted them to see".

President Trump, whose "Make America Great Again" 2016 campaign slogan was said to be uttered by the attackers, previously addressed the assault on Smollett.

  • Michelle Webb