Actor Jussie Smollett is outraged by those doubting the details of the brutal hate crime he reportedly endured last month (Jan19).
The 36 year old Empire star was assaulted by two men outside his apartment in Chicago, Illinois. During the attack the thugs allegedly poured a chemical substance over him and tied a noose around his neck while yelling racial and homophobic slurs.
Now Smollett is sitting down for his first TV interview since the incident and he is annoyed that his recollection of events is being questioned.
“I’m p***ed off,” he says in an interview for Good Morning America that will air Thursday (14Feb19).
Host Robin Roberts asked him to clarify who his anger is directed towards, asking, "What is it that has you so angry? Is it the...attackers?"
"Attackers, but it’s also the attacks," he responds. "At first it was the thing of like, 'Listen, if I tell the truth then that’s it, because it’s the truth'. Then it became a thing of, like, 'How can you doubt that? How can you not believe that? It’s the truth!'"
To help police with their investigation, the actor handed over his partial phone records on Monday (11Feb19), revealing he was chatting to his manager at the time of the incident. However, on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department told Entertainment Tonight that detectives had rejected the records Smollett submitted via PDF because they were so heavily redacted.
The spokesperson insisted that Smollett was not being accused of manipulating his phone records, revealing the actor was being co-operative with the investigation and is still being treated as the victim of a hate crime.
But a representative for the openly gay star issued a statement to Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday, reminding the media that Smollett is "the victim".
"Jussie has voluntarily provided his phone records from within an hour of the attack and given multiple statements to police," the statement read. "Chicago P.D. has repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie's account of what happened that night consistent and credible."
Meanwhile, Jussie's actress sister, Jazz Smollett, made an appearance during a Television Critics Association event on Wednesday, and revealed that despite her brother's despair, he is "healing".