Jussie Smollett Addresses Cynics While Discussing Alleged Racist, Homophobic Attack On 'GMA': 'I'm Pissed Off'
The actor's interview with Robin Roberts is the first he's given on the alleged attack.
Jussie Smollett sat down with Robin Roberts of Good Morning America for a televised interview following his survival of an alleged hate crime currently under investigation in Chicago.
ABC News published a short promotional clip of the interview Wednesday, and the full conversation aired Thursday morning.
“I heard ‘Empire,' and I don’t answer to 'Empire.' My name ain’t 'Empire,' and I didn’t answer," Smollett said of the beginning of the alleged attack. "I kept walking, and then I heard 'f****t 'Empire' n****r.' So, I turned around, and I said, 'The f**k did you just say to me?'”
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“'This MAGA country, n****r.' Punches me right in the face," he continued. "So I punched his a** back. And then we started tussling, and it was very icy.”
He said another man came up and began kicking him in the back before the two ran off. He claimed he didn't immediately see the rope the assailants allegedly placed around his neck.
“I noticed the rope around my neck, and I started screaming," he added. "I said, 'There’s a f**king rope about my neck.' "
Smollett said he believes the men in the footage released by Chicago police are the ones who attacked him last month.He recounted the incident to Robin Roberts during the appearance on GMA. When she asked him about the picture, he said he believed it was a photo of his attackers “'cause...I was there."
"For me, when that was released, I was like, 'Okay. We're getting somewhere,' you know what I'm saying?" he continued. "I don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them. Never did."
The Empire star admitted he was frustrated by people who wanted to poke holes in his story.
"I'm pissed off," Smollett said.
"What is it that has you so angry? Is it the...attackers," questioned Roberts.
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"Attackers, but it's also the attacks," Smollett said. "It's like, you know, at first, it was a thing of, like, 'Listen, if I tell the truth then that's it, 'cause it's the truth.’ Then it became a thing of like, 'Oh, how can you doubt that? Like, how do you-- how do 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.'"
Smollett’s attackers are still at large.
When Roberts asked Smollett, "At any point during the attack, did you fear for your life?” the actor was brought to tears.
The incident remains under investigation. On Jan. 29, Smollett was reportedly attacked by two white male assailants who yelled racial slurs and homophobic epithets at him. As Blavity reported, they also were said to have put a noose around the actor's neck and poured bleach on him.
A few days after the attack Smollett told fans he's "OK" and ready to fight.
"My body is strong but my soul is stronger," he wrote. "More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words."
Shortly after releasing his statement, the actor returned to the stage on Feb. 2 at The Troubador in Los Angeles.
"It sounds powerful but I couldn't let those mother f**kers win," Smollett said during the performance. "And above all, I fought the f**k back."
Watch the full interview below:
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