On Good Morning America's Feb. 14 episode, singer and actor Jussie Smollett sat down with Robin Roberts to further discuss the incident in which he was the target of a hate crime in late January. The 36-year-old Empire star recalled being assaulted in Chicago by two assailants who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, punched him, and poured an unknown chemical substance on him before wrapping a rope around his neck. He sustained injuries to his clavicle bone and bruised ribs.
Jussie also opened up about the backlash he's received since reporting the incident. "I'm pissed off. It's the attackers, but it's also the attacks," he said. He went on to express some frustration regarding those who doubt the verity of his experience. "Like, you know, at first it was the thing of, like, listen, if I tell the truth then that's 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. Then it became a thing of, like, it's not necessarily that you don't believe that this is the truth. You don't even want to see the truth."
He then explained that he believes there are implications behind the incredulity. "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 much more. A lot more," he continued. "And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now."
Three days after the attack, Jussie released a statement exclusively to Essence, saying, "I'm OK. My body is strong but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words."
Then on Feb. 3, Jussie opened his performance in LA with a message for the crowd. "I'm gonna stand strong with y'all, and I had to be here tonight," he said. "It sounds powerful, but I couldn't let those motherf*ckers win. I will always stand for love. I will never stand for anything other than love. Regardless of what anyone says, I will only stand for love. And I hope that you will all stand with me."
Watch a portion of Jussie's first televised interview about the attack on Good Morning America above.