Smollett said he’s “pissed off” on Thursday during his Good Morning America interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts.
“I’m pissed off,” Smollett told Roberts. “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,’” he said.
“It’s the attackers, but it’s also the attacks,” Smollett said, who’s black and openly gay. “It’s not that you don’t believe this is the truth; you don’t even want to see this is the truth.”
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Smollett told authorities that he was attacked on Jan. 29 by two men who were yelling racial and homophobic slurs.”
He said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.
Smollett told Roberts he landed in Chicago that day, and was picked up by his creative director. Once they got back to his apartment he realized had no food in the house.
He said he left his apartment to go to Walgreens, thinking it was open 24 hours, but ended up at Subway to get a salad.
He said he texted his manager, Brandon Moore, and left a message for Moore to call him.
Smollett said Moore called him back immediately. “While he was on the phone I heard, I was crossing the intersection, I heard ‘Empire!,’ Smollett told Roberts. “I don’t answer to ‘Empire.’ My name ain’t ‘Empire.'”
Smollett said he did not respond and kept walking but then he began to hear someone yell a racial slur. “So I turned around and said ‘What the f**k did you just say to me’ and I see the attacker masked,” Smollett said, appearing to get emotional. “He said ‘This MAGA country n****r’ and he punched me in the face so I punched his a** back.”
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The Beautiful singer said they started fighting and ended up near some stairs, as a second person kicked him in his back.
The alleged attackers ran off and Smollett said he noticed his phone had fallen out of his pocket.
His manager was still on the phone and Smollett said he told Moore he had been jumped.
While he was on the phone he said he saw a rope.
“I noticed the rope around my neck and I started screaming ‘There’s a f***ing rope around my neck,” he said.
He said that he gave a description of his alleged attackers as best as he could.
Smollett said he’s seen the photo that police released of the persons of interest.
“For me, when that was released I was like ‘Ok, we are getting somewhere,'” Smollett said. “For me, I don’t have any doubt in my mind that’s them.”
He also said that he believes he would have been taken more seriously if his attackers were not Caucasian.
“It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would’ve supported me a lot more, and that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now,” he said.
Jussie Smollett: "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 a lot much more. A lot more. And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now." https://t.co/gMhSp8dO9e pic.twitter.com/WpUCq6STp2
— ABC News (@ABC) February 14, 2019
The 36-year-old actor said, “I will never be the man that this did not happen to.”
“I am forever changed. I don’t subscribe to the idea everything happens for a reason, but I do subscribe to the idea that we have the right and the responsibility to make something meaningful out of the things that happen to us, good and bad,” he said.
Smollett went on to explain why he hesitated to report the attack.
“There’s a level of pride there,” Smollett said. “We live in a society where as a gay man you are considered somehow to be weak and I’m not weak. I am not weak and we as a people are not weak.”
Smollett refuted some of the information that’s been reported, including that he told police his alleged attackers were wearing MAGA hats.
“I never said that,” he said. “I didn’t need to add anything like that. They called me a f****t, they called me a n****r. There’s no which way you cut it. I don’t need some MAGA hat as the cherry on some racist sundae.”
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