(JTA) — Jussie Smollett is “pissed off” that some doubt he was a victim of violence last month in Chicago and says the attack was because of his criticism of President Donald Trump.
“It’s not just the attackers, it’s the attacks,” he said Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” speaking of the Jan. 29 assault that left him hospitalized.
“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 more,” Smollett told Robin Roberts.
Smollett, who is black, Jewish and gay, told the Chicago police that he was exiting a restaurant when two white men wearing MAGA (Make America Great Again) hats approached him. The police reported that the two men “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him” before attacking Smollett, pouring an “unknown chemical substance” on him and wrapping a rope around his neck. They said “This is MAGA country” as they fled.
Doubts about the attack arose as Smollett was accused on social media of not cooperating with police, which he and the police denied. The actor told Roberts that he did not at turn over his cellphone to police because of privacy issues, but later submitted redacted phone logs.
A security camera in the vicinity was pointed the wrong way during the attack.
Smollett was born to a Jewish father and African-American mother. He portrays a gay musician on “Empire” named Jamal Lyon.