Jussie Smollett says he is 'forever changed' by attack

Smollett told Chicago police he was attacked on January 29 by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him and put a rope around his neck.

Chicago Police Department launched a hunt for his attackers who he said shouted 'This is MAGA country!' after punching his ribs, pouring bleach on him and tying a noose around his neck.

Celebrities and politicians have condemned the attack and voiced their support for Smollett, who is black, openly gay and an activist for LGBTQ rights.

Smollett said he didn't want to call police at first, but that his friend and creative director, Frank Gatson, called on his behalf. "My name ain't Empire".

The actor said he didn't respond and kept walking only to hear someone to hear someone yell a racial slur.

"I've heard that it was a date gone bad, which I also resent that narrative", he said. Police said at the time that while the video "does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously and wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed".

Earlier in the day, during his first interview since the attack, Smollett said he believes the two people in the video are his attackers.

It was an emotional interview for Smollett, but he hopes his story helps others know their own strength against hate and violence.

Smollett said his manager was still on the phone, which had fallen out of his pocket. "I said, 'There's a f**king rope around my neck'".

Smollett grabbed his phone and told Moore that he'd just been "jumped" - and that's when he said he noticed the rope around his neck. He said he fought back and later gave police a description as best as he was able.

Guglielmi told The Associated Press that the two men are the same people shown in surveillance photos released last month by police. "And I'm not weak", he said. "They ran off, I didn't".

He also explained why he hesitated to report the attack. Asked why he had taken so long to contact police after the incident he said: "There's a level of pride there". "We, as a people, are not weak". "It felt like minutes but it was probably 30 seconds".

Chris Bastardi, the "Vice President/Head of Strategy and Crisis for Sunshine Sachs" issued an official statement on behalf of Smollett Wednesday morning, answering concerns that Smollett may not have provided adequate information to Chicago authorities.

Smollett expressed frustration at not being believed. So, yeah, I don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them.

"I never said that!" "Then it just stopped and they ran off, and I saw where they ran". There's no which way you cut it. "I don't need some MAGA hat as the cherry on some racist sundae".

Smollett told Roberts that he believes some have doubted his story because he said his attackers referenced Make America Great Again, President Donald Trump's campaign slogan.

"I went to the Subway, got my order", Smollett continued. I was single. You know what I'm saying? "That I can tell you is disgusting", he told the press.

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.

Smollett also cleared up some false reports that his ribs had allegedly been fractured.

  • Marlene Weaver