'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett Breaks Down on 'GMA' in First Interview Since Homophobic Attack

In his first on-camera interview since he was attacked in a hate crime last month, Empire star Jussie Smollett fights back tears.

The 36-year-old actor sat down with Robin Roberts for an interview that will air Thursday on ABC's Good Morning America. In the first promo for the interview, Smollett can be seen tearing up as Roberts asks him questions.

"What happened that night?" Roberts can be heard asking in the short clip. "At any point during the attack, did you fear for your life?"

Smollett has previously addressed the incident, which Chicago police are investigating as a possible hate crime that was racially motivated and homophobic, through his publicist and at a concert of his earlier this month, but Thursday's interview will be his first time detailing the events on camera.

Earlier this week, investigators recently rejected Smollett's phone records as evidence because "they do not meet the burden for a criminal investigation as they were limited and heavily redacted," a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department said.

Smollett has previously been cooperating with the investigation.

Detectives might be following up with Smollett to request additional data to corroborate the investigative timeline. Smollett had told police he was on the phone with his manager on Jan. 29 when the alleged attack occurred.

A representative for the actor said in a statement to Page Six on Tuesday that he redacted information from his phone records for his privacy.

"Jussie has voluntarily provided his phone records from within an hour of the attack and given multiple statements to police. Chicago PD has repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie's account of what happened that night consistent and credible," Smollett's representative said. "Superintendent Johnson has been clear from day one that Jussie is a victim. We are continuing to work closely with the Chicago PD and remain confident that they will find Jussie's attackers and bring them to justice."

The representative continued, "Any redacted information was intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack. Chicago Police have not told us that they are rejecting any records, nor have they expressed concerns about the records to us. Therefore, we don't feel compelled to be bated into responding to uncorroborated press reports. We are dealing directly with the Chicago Police Department."

Smollett made his first public appearance since the attack earlier this month at a performance in West Hollywood, California, just days after the attack. "I had to be here tonight, y'all," Smollett told the crowd. "I couldn't let those motherf—ers win."

Chicago police released a photo of the potential suspects, which showed two men wearing dark clothing. At this time, no footage of the attack appears to exist.

Smollett told Essence that he was doing "OK" in the days following the attack, during which two men allegedly yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured a chemical that could possibly be bleach on him, and tied a rope around his neck.


"Let me start by saying that I'm OK," Smollett's told Essence. "My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words."

He said he is hopeful that the attackers will be brought to justice. "I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level," he said. "Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served."