Smollett, who wiped away tears throughout the interview, told Roberts he is angry about the assault, and about people not believing his story.
Police said Smollett was attacked January 29. His family has deemed it a hate attack, and the actor has been supported by a surge of sympathy on social media, but doubters have also questioned his account.
Police have collected video surveillance footage from cameras in the downtown area and have also extended their search to stores in the area in the hopes of gathering evidence on who might have purchased the rope. He said he didn't respond at first-"I don't answer to Empire"-but finally did when the person yelled slurs (Smollett is black and gay)". Then it became a thing of, like, how can you doubt that?
"Then it became a thing of, like, it's not necessarily that you don't believe that this is the truth".
Smollett said he didn't initially want to give police his cellphone for their investigation because the device contains private content and phone numbers.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said detectives believe the two men are the same people shown in an image police released to the public after the attack. Who says, '[bleep] Empire, this Maga country, ' [bleep] ties a noose around your neck and pours bleach onto you? "It doesn't get worse as far as I'm concerned". Number two, I want them to stop being able to say 'alleged attack.' Number three, I want them to see that I fought back.
Smollett said his friend and creative director, Frank Gatson, called police for him. It was after hearing homophobic and racial slurs that he turned around and confronted a man in a ski mask. "They called me a [bleep]".
But Smollett didn't address why it took him two weeks to give police phone records from that night - or why they were redacted to the point that Chicago police said they were "insufficient for a criminal investigation". In a second interview with police he said that they yelled, "this is MAGA country!" at him, referring to the president's campaign motto, Make America Great Again.
"I don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them", he told the network.
"I noticed the rope around my neck and I started screaming 'There's a f***ing rope around my neck", he said.
But he said he failed to get a good description of them as their faces were obscured. I was single. You know what I'm saying? Smollett told GMA he kept the rope around his neck as he waited for police to arrive because "I wanted them to see".