Jussie Smollett shared details of his assault with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts in his first interview since the homophobic, racist attack against him. It was an emotional conversation for the TV star who says his life is “forever changed” since that fateful night.
The Empire star has recounted the events of that evening over and over in his head, as well as to the police. He was picked up from the airport by his friend Frank Gatson, who drove Smollett to his apartment. Once he was home, the actor realized there was no food in his house, so he decided to make a quick run to Subway. He explained that after he got his order, he was walking and talking on the phone to his manager, Brandon Moore, when the unthinkable happened.
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Men wearing masks started yelling expletive hateful things at the actor to get his attention. When he turned around to confront them, Smollett was punched in the face. Despite his best to fight back, things took a turn for the worse as the 36-year-old became overpowered with the two men hitting and kicking him. It was not until the attack was over that the singer realized he had a noose around his neck and liquid bleach poured on him.
“It happened so fast. It felt like minutes, but it was probably 30 seconds,” he explained to Roberts.
Although he will be fine physically, Smollett will be scared for the rest of life and not just because of the attack. The aftermath questioning the validity of his story has taken a toll on him as well. His account of the events has come under attack, especially after it took him a while to turn over his cell phone. As he explained to Roberts, his reluctance to give police his phone had to do with privacy concerns, not him hiding anything regarding the attack.
Jussie Smollett’s life was changed on January 29th. Although the police have a couple of people of interest, it does not turn back time for the actor.
“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,” he shared.
It was an emotional interview for Smollett, but he hopes his story helps others know their own strength against hate and violence.