“I will never be the man that this did not happen to. I am forever changed,” the 36-year-old Empire actor said. “And I don’t subscribe to the idea that everything happens for a reason, but I do subscribe to the idea that we have the right and the responsibility to make something meaningful out of the things that happen to us, good and bad.”
On Jan.29, Smollett, who is openly gay and plays a gay man on the scripted-Fox television show, was allegedly attacked as he left a Subway fast-food restaurant in Chicago at about 2 AM. The attackers allegedly kicked, punched, poured bleach on Smollett and also tried to tie a rope around his neck. Smollett sustained minor injuries and was treated at a local Chicago hospital. He was discharged later that day.
In the wake of Smollett’s attack, there have been some who’ve doubted his account, which has left Smollett “pissed off.”
“It’s the attackers, but it’s also the attacks,” Smollet said. “It’s not necessarily that you don’t believe that this is the truth. You don’t even want to see the truth.”
Smollett said he believes his attack was due in part to his criticism of Donald Trump and confirmed someone yelled “This Is MAGA country ” during the attack. As of now, police have not been able to locate surveillance footage of the alleged incident, however, there is a video of Smollett returning home with a rope around his neck.
The singer and actor also defended his decision to not turn over his cellphone to police, stating he didn’t want to jeopardize the privacy of his personal contacts, as well as pictures and other personal data. Smollett did, however, turn over a heavily redacted phone record.
"That says a lot about the place we are in our country right now." @JussieSmollett tells @RobinRoberts if his attackers were of a different race other than white, he feels he would have been more supported. https://t.co/b5efiP0JCG pic.twitter.com/7BzpTV91fP
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 14, 2019
“Police continue to treat Smollett as a victim and are investigating this as a possible hate crime,” Anthony Guglielmi’s Chicago’s police spokesman said in a statement, NBC Chicago reports. “Police remain interested in identifying and contacting people of interest. Investigators may want to speak to Smollett again. They are not even looking at charges regarding filing a false report.”