“You Do Such A Disservice When You Lie About Things Like This.” Jussie Smollett Addresses Claims His Story Is Not True
For the first time since news of Jussie Smollett’s homophobic and racist attack made headlines, he’s sitting down to discuss the incident in depth. This morning, he sat with Robin Roberts to discuss the attack, his doubters, and a message to the LGBTQ community.
Check out the highlights from the interview and the full video below.
I’m pissed off. It’s the attackers but it’s also the attacks. At first, it was a thing of, ‘Listen, if I tell the truth, that’s it because it’s the truth.’ Then it became a thing of like, ‘How can you doubt that? How can you not believe that? It’s the truth!’ And then it became a thing of, ‘Oh, it’s not necessarily that you don’t believe that this the truth, you don’t even want to see that this is the truth.’
While he was on the phone, I heard, as I was crossing the intersection, I heard, ‘Empire.’ I don’t answer to ‘Empire.’ My name ain’t ‘Empire.’ I didn’t answer. I kept walking. Then I heard, ‘F*gg*t Empire N*gg*r.’ So I turned around and I said, ‘The f*ck did you just say to me?’ Then I see the attacker, masked. And he said, ‘This MAGA country n*gger.’ Punches me right in the face. So I punched his ass back. And we started tussling. It was very icy and we ended up tussling by the stairs. Fighting, fighting, fighting. There was a second person involved who was kicking me in my back, then it just stopped and they ran off.
…Then I look down and I see that there’s a rope around my neck. It was so fast. It felt like minutes but it probably was like thirty seconds. I can’t tell you honestly. I can’t tell you honestly. I noticed the rope around my neck and I started screaming. I said, ‘There’s a f*cking rope around my neck.’
I gave a body description but I can’t tell you what color their eyes were. It’s Chicago in winter. People can wear ski masks and nobody’s going to question that.
Robin Roberts asked him about the picture Chicago Police released of potential suspects and asked Smollett if he thought these could be the men who attacked him. He said:
I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them. Never did.
I just want young people, young members of the LGBTQ community, young Black children to know how strong that they are. To know the power that they hold in their little pinky.
I get threatened all the time on Twitter and Instagram and DMs but I’m a public figure, I’m very outspoken, sometimes maybe too outspoken but it’s who I am so I get idea of pissing people off, that you’re going to rub people the wrong way.
When Roberts asked him if believes the letter that was sent to Fox studios was connected to his attack, he said yes because of the rope around the stick figure’s neck.
“Just because on the letter on the letter, it had a stick figure hanging from a tree, with a gun pointing toward it. There was no address but the return address said in big, red letters MAGA. Did I make that up too?”
I want that video found so badly for four reasons. I want them to find the people that did it. I want them to stop being able to say alleged attack. I want them to see that I fought back and I want a little gay boy, who might watch this to see that I fought the f*ck back. And that does not take anything away from people that are not able to do that. But I fought back. They ran off, I didn’t.
When asked what he would say to a young, gay man, Jussie said:
To learn to fight and I don’t just mean [physically.] Learn to fight. Learn to be a fighter. I am not advocating violence at all. If you’re going to die, fight until you do. Because if you don’t fight, you have no chance. I’m an advocate. I respect, too much, the people who have been attacked in any way. You do such a disservice when you lie about things like this.
Roberts asked Smollett, how he would be able to heal if the attackers were never found. With tears in his eyes, Smollett said:
“ I don’t know. Let’s just hope that they are. Let’s not go there yet. I was talking to a friend and I said, ‘I just want them to find them.’ And she said, ‘Sweetie, they’re not going to find them.’ And it just made me so angry. Because I’m just going to be left here with this? I’m just going to be left here with like, ‘So they get to go free and go about their life and they get to attack someone else?’ And I’m here left with the aftermath of this bull? That’s not cool to me. That’s not ok.
I understand how difficult it will be to find them but we gotta. I still want to believe, with everything that’s happened, that there’s still something called justice.
You can watch Smollett’s full interview in the videos below.