News and Commentary

Jussie Smollett Hires Harvey Weinstein’s PR Firm, Gives Tearful First Interview Following Alleged Attack

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett, who claims to have been the victim of a brutal hate crime that took place several weeks ago in Chicago, has hired a public relations firm and issued a statement in the wake of concerns Chicago Police are having difficulty substantiating Smollett’s claims.

Smollett also gave a tearful statement to Good Morning America, which will air Thursday morning.

Chicago Police told media on Monday that Smollett provided a series of phone records to authorities in order to prove that he was on the phone with his manager during the attack. But TMZ reports that the phone “records” were actually just “a redacted, PDF print-out of a bill” and that police believe the print-outs were insufficient to substantiate Smollett’s claims of the attack.

Chris Bastardi, the “Vice President/Head of Strategy and Crisis for Sunshine Sachs” issued an official statement on behalf of Smollett Wednesday morning, answering concerns that Smollett may not have provided adequate information to Chicago authorities.

“The following is a statement from Chris Bastardi, he is the Vice President/Head of Strategy and Crisis for Sunshine Sachs, the firm representing Jussie Smollett,” ABC7 reporter Rob Elgas tweeted.

“Sunshine Sachs firm on Smollett phone records: ‘Jussie is the victim here, which has been stated by the Superintendent of Police. Jussie has voluntarily provided his phone records from within an hour of the attack and given multiple statements to police,'” Elgas continued.

“MORE: Sunshine Sachs firm: ‘Chicago PD has repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie’s account of what happened that night consistent and credible. Superintendent Johnson has been clear from day one that Jussie is a victim,'” Elgas added.

“We are continuing to work closely with Chicago PD and remain confident that they will find Jussie’s attackers and bring them to justice. Any redacted information was intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack,” the PR firm said, according to Elgas.

Finally, Elgas notes, “Firm Sunshine Sachs representing Jussie Smollett: ‘Police have not told us that they are rejecting any records, nor have they expressed concerns about the records to us. Therefore, we don’t feel compelled to be bated into responding to uncorroborated press reports.'”

The statement, of course, carefully avoids the TMZ report’s specific language, which claims Chicago Police merely found the reports unhelpful in their investigation, not incorrect, rejected, or concerning.

Researcher Chadwick Moore connected the firm, Sunshine Sachs, to Harvey Weinstein, who hired the firm to help defend him amid claims that he sexually assaulted multiple women.

As part of his sudden PR blitz, Smollett will appear on Good Morning America on Thursday in a pre-recorded interview with Robin Roberts. In promos for the interview, Smollett is seen crying, and pleads with the public to believe his story of being assaulted by two men who screamed racial slurs, referenced “MAGA country” and wounded Smollett.

“I’m p****d off. It’s the attackers but it’s also the attacks. At first it was a thing of like, listen if I tell the truth then that’s it cause it’s the truth,” Smollett says in a promotional clip that aired on Wednesday. “Then it became a thing of like, ‘Oh, how can you doubt that? How can you not believe that. It’s the truth.'”

“And then it became a thing of like, ‘Oh. It’s not necessarily that you don’t believe that this is the truth, you don’t even want to see the truth,'” he added, apparently hitting out at critics who say his story doesn’t add up — critics who now include some of his neighbors, according to TMZ.