Jussie Smollett’s story of an alleged homophobic and racist attack is facing increased scrutiny after several police sources told media outlets that they believe he might have staged the incident. Smollett’s only televised interview about the alleged incident was given to Good Morning America, but now the Blast is reporting that staffers on the show felt doubtful about the veracity of his story when he sat down to speak to host Robin Roberts.
Smollett has claimed that he was accosted by two masked men on January 29 near Loews hotel in Chicago. According to his account, they yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, tied a noose around his neck, and threw a chemical substance over him — a substance which is believed to have been bleach.
During the interview, he seemed offended by the fact that he was being accused of fabricating the story.
“I’m p*ssed off,” the actor said. “At first it was a thing of ‘Listen, if I tell the truth, that’s it ‘cuz it’s the truth. Then it became a thing of ‘How can you doubt that, how do you not believe that? It’s the truth.'”
The Blast did not stipulate which part of the interview gave staffers an inkling that Smollett’s story might have been less than factual, just that they were left with the feeling that things did not add up.
One of CBS Chicago‘s most recent articles on the situation reports that the two Nigerian brothers who were initially suspects have said that Smollett was involved in the creation of a racist letter that was sent to the actor while he was shooting Empire. They claim that the actor staged the attack because the letter did not capture the media’s attention. CBS’ sources also say that there’s video footage of the men using a ride-share that night in order to travel to a spot near the location of the purported attack.
The brothers were set to give their testimony to a grand jury on Tuesday, but that’s been postponed after Smollett’s defense team claimed that they have new evidence.
When Smollett’s story first made news, it triggered a wave of sympathy from celebrities. Now, as more questions are raised, that tide is turning against him. As the Inquisitr previously reported, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has deleted a tweet posted in support of Smollett. Rapper Cardi B said that the actor would ruin Black History Month if his story was a lie, but said that she was still holding out for more facts to emerge.
Others found the humor in the situation. During an episode of The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah said that the story about Jussie Smollett rehearsing the attack in advance made sense to him.
“If I was paying these two to beat me up, I would want to practice too, OK?” he said as he referenced a photo of the brothers. “Look at this photo — how many abs does the guy on the left have? It looks like he stole a couple of abs from the other guy!”