Jussie Smollett‘s exclusive interview with Robin Roberts aired on “Good Morning America” on Thursday.
It was the singer and “Empire” star’s first sit-down interview since he was brutally attacked in Chicago earlier this month.
From the moment the interview began, it was clear to see – not only is Jussie hurt emotionally, but he is also angry about the speculation surrounding his attack.
Read a few quotes from the interview below.
On the moments leading up to the attack:
[Jussie was on the phone with his manager when the attack happened.]
While he was on the phone I heard, I was crossing the intersection, I heard ‘Empire!’ I don’t answer to ‘Empire.’ My name ain’t ‘Empire.’
[Then someone yelled a racial slur at him.]
So I turned around and said ‘What the f**k did you just say to me’ and I see the attacker masked. He said ‘This MAGA country n***er’ and he punched me in the face so I punched his a** back.
On his attackers putting a rope around his neck:
I noticed the rope around my neck and I started screaming ‘There’s a f***ing rope around my neck!’
On being doused with bleach:
I smelled bleach. I know the smell of bleach and I saw on my sweatshirt it had marks on it – like spots on it when you have a bad bleach job. So, then I was like, ‘There’s bleach on me too!’
Jussie Smollett on why he waited to contact police:
There’s a level of pride there. 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.
On when the police arrived:
When the police came, I kept the clothes on me…I kept the rope. It wasn’t wrapped around [my neck], but it was around because I wanted them to see. I wanted them to see what this was.
I told them what happened and I also asked them to turn their body cams off.
On why he refused to turn over his phone to police:
I‘m sorry, but I’m not going to do that! 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 songs.
On his doubters:
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 and that says a lot about the place where we are as a country right now.
Jussie Smollett on the speculation that it was a date gone wrong:
Subway is open 24 hours! Like people kill me when they say things like that! Because it’s like Subway is open 24 hours for a reason! So that when you’re hungry at night and you ain’t got no food…you go to Subway!
I heard that it was a date gone bad…which I still resent that narrative. I’m not going to go out to get a tuna sandwich and a salad to meet somebody. That’s ridiculous and it’s offensive!
Yes, there’s Grindr! Yes, there’s Jack’d! Yes, there’s all of these things, which I have not been on in years! I can admit that I was on there back in the day. I was single, you know what I’m saying? But, I havent’ been on that in years.
On the false reports:
They reported that I had fractured ribs, and that wasn’t true. I was just in a lot of pain. My clavicle was messed up, my rib was bruised, but it wasn’t cracked. I walked into the hospital. I walked out of the hospital.
On how the attack has impacted him:
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.
On the LGBTQ community:
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.
Watch the full video of Jussie Smollett’s interview below.