Actor Jussie Smollett has said he has been "forever changed" by the allegedly racist and homophobic attack he suffered last month in Chicago.
The Empire star was attacked by two masked men while walking down a street on January 29. They allegedly poured a chemical substance over him and wrapped a rope around his neck while shouting racial and homophobic slurs.
The 36-yer-old actor has now spoken about the attack publicly for the first time in an interview with ABC News.
He said: "I will never be the man who this didn't happen to.
"I am forever changed and I don't subscribe to the idea that everything happens for a reason, but I do subscribe to the idea that we have the right and responsibility to make something meaningful out of the things that happen to us, good and bad."
The actor also said he believes he was targeted because of his criticism of US President Donald Trump and his administration.
"I come really, really hard against 45. I don't hold my tongue." @JussieSmollett says he believes he was targeted because of his criticism toward Pres. Trump's administration based on what was said during the attack. https://t.co/b5efiP0JCG pic.twitter.com/uaxer5iTB1— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 14, 2019
Smollett said he was heartbroken when he found out that people questioned the details of his story.
He said: "I have to acknowledge the lies, and the hate. And 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.
"It's not necessarily that you don't believe that this is the truth, you don't even want to see the truth."
Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon in the music business drama Empire, came out as gay in 2015. He said he hopes that speaking about the attack will help other people.
"I want young people, young members of the LGTBQ community, young black children, to know how strong they are, to know the power they hold in their little pinky", he said.
Police have made no arrests for the attack. They have released CCTV images of "people of interest" they are seeking for questioning.