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'Empire' actor: "Ridiculous" he would lie about attack

Jussie Smollett by Greg2600 is licensed under Creative Commons Creative Commons
CHICAGO (AP) - “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has responded to critics who question his report about being attacked in downtown Chicago last month, saying it was “ridiculous” to think he would lie.

Smollett, 36, told police that two masked men shouted racial and homophobic slurs before attacking him and putting a rope around his neck while he was walking outside around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29.

Smollett, who is black and openly gay, told ABC News that he left the rope and clothes on when police arrived “because I wanted them to see.” He said he’s heard various stories about people questioning the attack, which he said occurred while he was out getting food at a Subway restaurant.

“I’ve heard that it was a date gone bad, which I also resent that narrative,” he said. “I’m not gonna go out and get a tuna sandwich and a salad to meet somebody. That’s ridiculous. And it’s offensive.”

The singer and actor said the attackers also yelled “this is MAGA country,” referencing President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. Smollett said earlier reports from some media outlets that his attackers were wearing “MAGA” hats were inaccurate.


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