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In his first detailed interview since the alleged 29 January assault, Smollett was asked by Good Morning America on ABC News why he thinks he was targeted.

An interview clip was posted online.

In the interview with Robin Robert, the singer-actor spoke about his recollection of the incident and addressed the doubters who have been trying to poke holes in his story since it began.

Smollett also said he refused to give detective his phone the night of the attack because of privacy concerns. After detailing what occurred and hitting back at critics who have questioned the accuracy of his account, Smollett got emotional, confessing his fears that his assailants won't be found.

In a preview for the segment, which will air on Thursday (US time), the Empire star is seen giving a tearful account of the incident, which Chicago police have described as a possible hate crime that was racially motivated and homophobic. Realizing there wasn't any food, Smollett went out first to Wallgreens, thinking it was open 24-hours, but then called Gatson to say he was instead going to Subway.

"Then it became a thing of, like, it's not necessarily that you don't believe that this is the truth".

Additionally, Guglielmi went on to clarify that the two individuals are not now being investigated as the perpetrators of the crime, but that police do intend to question them about being in the vicinity when it took place. "No, 1, I want them to find the people that did it, No. 2, I want them to stop being able to say 'alleged attack'". We live in a society where as a gay man you are considered somehow to be weak and I'm not weak. Fighting, fighting, fighting, there was a second person involved who was kicking me in my back.

"I didn't need to add anything like that", Smollett said about the hats.

Smollett grabbed his phone and told Moore that he'd just been "jumped" - and that's when he said he noticed the rope around his neck.

Celebrities and politicians have condemned the attack and voiced their support for Smollett, who is black, openly gay and an activist for LGBTQ rights. "I still want to believe with everything that has happened, that there's something called justice".

As Smollett defended his reluctance to share his phone records with the police, he grumbled about "inaccurate, false statements" that have been spread about the attack, citing one which claimed that he said his attackers wore MAGA hats.

But he said he failed to get a good description of them as their faces were obscured.

Smollett told Roberts that he believes some have doubted his story because he said his attackers referenced Make America Great Again, President Donald Trump's campaign slogan.

During that time, the star said, he checked himself, saw his bruises and smelled bleach, so he left his clothes on as well as the rope around his neck.