Jussie Smollett Details His Attack & Addresses Doubters in First Interview Since Assault (VIDEO)
In his first sit-down interview since he was beaten in a suspected homophobic attack, Jussie Smollett isn't mixing his words.
The Empire star spoke with Robin Roberts of Good Morning America about the incident that occurred in January outside a Subway restaurant in Chicago. He recounted that he was talking to his music manager when he was approached by a man in a ski mask who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him. He was then "punched in the face" by the man — whom he gave a description of to police.
Smollett admits he fought back, but then felt "a second person" kick him in the back. Then, the two people ran off, and Smollett got back on the phone with his music manager, during which he realized there was a rope around his neck.
Since the incident occurred, information regarding the attack has been difficult to uncover. Doubters have criticized the validity of Smollett's story because police haven't been able to find clear surveillance footage, but the police did release photos of two persons of interest, whose identities are still unknown.
The 36-year-old gay actor/musician also refused to hand over his phone to police at the time, but last week he did release his phone records from during the early morning hours of the attack.
“I‘m sorry, but I’m not going to do that,” Smollett told Roberts of turning his phone over. “I have private pictures and videos and numbers. My partner’s number, my family’s numbers, my castmates’ numbers, my friends’ numbers, my private emails, my private songs, my private voice memos.”
He also said of the people doubting his story, "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 more.” And he feels as though the attack happened because he's critical of the current president.
“I come really, really hard against 45,” he said. “I come really, really hard against his administration, and I don’t hold my tongue.”
Smollett did clear up that he didn't describe the attackers as wearing MAGA hats as earlier reports described but confirmed they did say, “This is MAGA country" and threw bleach on him.
"They called me a f*ggot. They called me a n*gger. There’s no which way you cut it, I don’t need some MAGA hat as the cherry on a racist sundae," he explained.
Smollett also had a reason why he didn't call police right away, which the doubters were quick to question — “There’s a level of pride there. We live in a society where as a gay man you’re somehow considered to be weak, and I’m not weak, and we as a people are not weak.”
As a celebrity, advocate, activist and member of the LGBTQ community, Smollett said he wants others to just "hear the truth... 'Cause everybody has their own idea. Some are healing and some are hurtful, but I just want young people, young members of the LGBTQ community — young, black children — to know how strong that they are."
He said through tears that he wants people he know he fought back and will continue to do so until, and even after, his attackers are apprehended.
Watch the interview below: