Journalist Robin Roberts, who gave "Empire" star — and, now, accused hate crime hoaxer — Jussie Smollett, a platform to "tell his story" on Good Morning America, now says that Smollett's tale, which he told in full during the GMA interview, was full of "red flags."
The Daily Caller reports that Roberts made the "red flags" comments to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson during his own interview Monday on GMA, but did not explain why, if she knew that authorities doubted Smollett's story at the time of Smollett's interview, she didn't ask him any tough questions.
Johnson spoke about the interviews he and detectives did with two brothers, who allegedly helped Smollett carry out the hoax, noting that the brothers, after speaking with their lawyer, were very willing to tell "the truth" to investigators.
Roberts responded by asking Johnson whether he'd been clued into some of the "red flags" others now say they saw in Smollett's story.
“Even though that you all were saying early on there was no reason not the believe his story, there were a lot of red flags, that a lot of people saw. You all had questions. Even though you weren’t, of course, going to be public about that," Roberts said.
Johnson responded that, indeed, the Chicago Police Department played a number of cards very close to their chest.
But if Roberts suspected Smollett might not be telling the full story, she never let on during her interview with the "Empire" actor on GMA. In fact, Roberts does not appear to have used the word "allegedly" to describe the attack, and several times during the interview allowed Smollett to make off-the-cuff political statements, implying that the city of Chicago was simply teeming with racists, and that those investigating his claims were racist as well.
"I have to acknowledge the lies, and the hate," Smollett told Roberts. "It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more. A lot more. And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now."
Smollett even repeated some of the allegations, that he gave to police, that caused detectives and local Chicago media to question his version of events from the beginning — that Chicago's downtown could be the location of a racist attack clearly motivated by President Donald Trump.
"I could only go off their words," Smollett said. "I mean, who says, 'f***** 'Empire' n*****, this is MAGA country,' ties a noose around your neck and pours bleach on you? And this is just a friendly fight?"
Smollett is now out on bail pending trial, after pleading not guilty to charges that he filed a false police report with the Chicago Police Department. An FBI and United States Postal Service investigation, of the same series of events, is reportedly ongoing.