“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was reportedly resolute about being interviewed by ABC’s “Good Morning America” following last month’s reported attack, though network staffers were said to be suspicious of his claims.
Sources who spoke with the New York Post’s Page Six said Smollett, 35, insisted on making a TV appearance to recount the alleged January 29 incident. A source with close knowledge of the show’s booking decisions described the actor as being “adamant” about having the interview.
Moreover, sources told The Blast that some ABC staffers who were present during the “Good Morning America” interview were incredulous about his claims and felt the truth surrounding the story was “up in the air.” Staff allegedly floated the idea of Smollett’s story being fabricated as soon as he left the interview.
The Blast reported that Smollett’s side approached “Good Morning America” about the televised sit-down, specifically requesting Robin Roberts as she appeared on an episode of “Empire” in April of last year.
As previously reported, Smollett’s accused of paying Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, extras on the Fox series, to arrange the attack.
The black, openly gay actor reportedly told police that two masked assailants asked him, “Aren’t you that f**** ‘Empire’ n****r?” moments before the assault outside of a Chicago Subway restaurant. He allegedly said the suspects then tied a noose around his neck and dumped a liquid on him before fleeing the scene.
Roberts has since defended her February 14 interview with Smollett in light of allegations that the actor orchestrated his own attack.
“When I sat down with Jussie it was Tuesday night (February 12) in Chicago, at the time to give his first account, publicly give his first account of what he said happened,” the anchor said on air Monday, according to Just Jared.
“At that time, on Tuesday, police officers were saying that his account was consistent, it was credible, and that he was being cooperative. This was all before the interview aired on Thursday, and then we found out about the brothers.”
[Featured Image: Jussie Smollett/”ABC Nightline,” “Good Morning America” YouTube screengrab]