Nikki Haley slams media for Smollett coverage: 'He played them all for fools'

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyWill Trump ignore the Constitution and stay in White House beyond his term? Trump taps ex-State spokeswoman Heather Nauert to help oversee White House fellowships Conservatives slam Omar over tweet on Gaza violence MORE said "the media should be outraged" for its coverage of an alleged attack on Jussie Smollett, saying the "Empire" actor "played all of them for fools."

Haley offered the remarks on Twitter after news reports that police are now investigating whether the attack on Smollett was a hoax.


"Thoughts on Jussie Smollett case: He must be held accountable in the strictest way," Haley wrote on Twitter to her more than 370,00 followers.

"He must repay resources used to investigate and serve time for the division he caused," she wrote. "The media should be the most outraged. He played all of them for fools. He knew they would cover it."


Haley resigned her post as United Nations ambassador at the end of last year.

On Jan. 29, Smollett claimed he was attacked around 2 a.m. in a Chicago neighborhood by two men who shouted "This is MAGA country!" as well as racist and homophobic slurs. He also said the men poured an "unknown liquid" on him and attempted to tie a noose around his neck.

Several prominent Democratic lawmakers denounced the alleged attack, including Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHarris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign T.I., Charlamagne Tha God advocate for opportunity zones on Capitol Hill Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — CBO officials testify on pros and cons of 'Medicare for All' | Booker vows to form White House office on abortion rights | Measles outbreak spreads with cases now in half the country MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues MORE (D-Calif.), with the latter calling it a "modern-day lynching."

Both have since said they will withhold judgment in the case until police wrap up their investigation.