Jussie Smollett gets emotional in first interview after attack, says, he's 'pissed off'
Jussie Smollett is speaking out for the first time in an interview after the alleged racist and homophobic attack he experienced last month and the actor couldn’t help getting emotional.
The “Empire” actor sat down to an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts and in a promo clip for the actual broadcast can be seen tearing up as he addressed the skepticism and disbelief that has since trailed his story.
“I'm [expletive] off!” Smollett said. Roberts then asked if it was the “attackers” that got him “so angry.”
“It's the attackers but it's also the attacks. 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? 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.”
This is the first time Smollett, a black and openly gay actor, will speak in person on camera about the assault he experienced on the streets of Chicago around 2 am on January 29.
MORE HARROWING DETAILS
The full interview aired on Good Morning America earlier today and Smollett recounted details from the horrific attack that matches the account in his police report filed in the early hours after the incident, reports USA Today.
“I heard ‘Empire,' and I don’t answer to 'Empire.' My name ain’t 'Empire,' and I didn’t answer," he said after confirming he had gone out for food when the intruders tried to get his attention.
Smollett, 36, also revealed that the man addressed him with a homophobic slur and the N-word.
"And I see the attacker, masked and he said, 'This MAGA country, [N-word].' Punches me right in the face. So I punched his [expletive] back. And then we started tussling and it was very icy. We ended up tussling by the stairs. …There was a second person involved who was kicking me in my back, and then it just stopped. And they ran off.”
The actor said he started screaming when he looked down and realized a rope was around his neck. He also wasn’t able to give a detailed description of his attackers because of the nature of the assault.
SUPPORT & SKEPTICISM
Since news broke out of Smollett’s ordeal, he has received tremendous support from fellow celebrities and fans on social media, but there have also been skeptics who continue to punch holes in his story and claim that he made it up.
It didn’t help that the Chicago Police Department pointed out repeatedly that the star refused to turn over his phone records to prove he was on a call with his manager when the attack took place. The manager reportedly claimed to have heard when the assailants yelled racial and homophobic slurs at Smollett.
Smollett finally handed over his phone records on Monday, but the police reacted a day later to say the files "do not meet the burden for a criminal investigation as they were limited and heavily redacted."
In his defense, Smollett stated through a spokesperson that the phone records were redacted “to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack.”