Jussie Smollett is speaking out against the people who accused him of lying about being attacked.
The “Empire” star appeared on “Good Morning America” Thursday where he gave his first on-camera interview about the homophobic and racist assault he suffered in Chicago last month.
“I’m p***ed off,” Smollett said as he talked about the hurt he was feeling, not just from the attack itself but from the people doubting his claims.
“At first it was the thing of like, listen, if I tell the truth then 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.
“I have to acknowledge the lies, and the hate,” he continued. “And 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. And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now.”
Smollett, who is openly gay and plays a gay character on “Empire”, told police that he was attacked by two men who yelled homophobic and racist slurs at him. He said the men put a noose around his neck, poured an unknown substance on him, and physically beat him.
During the incident, Smollett said the attackers shouted: “‘This is MAGA country.'”
“It’s not necessarily that you don’t believe that this is the truth, you don’t even want to see the truth,” he told ABC News.
“For me, the main thing was the idea that I somehow switched up my story, you know? And that somehow maybe I added a little extra trinket, you know, of the MAGA thing.
“I didn’t need to add anything like that. They called me a f—–, they called me a n—-. There’s no which way you cut it. I don’t need some MAGA hat as the cherry on top of some racist sundae.”
The 36-year-old actor said there is no doubt in his mind that the attack was a hate crime.
“I mean, who says, ‘f—– Empire n—–,’ ‘This is MAGA country, n—–,’ ties a noose around your neck, and pours bleach on you? And this is just a friendly fight?” he asked.
“It’s unbelievable to me that anything of this has come to this. That every single thing that I have done, every single thing that I have co-operated with, somehow has gotten twisted into being some bull that it’s not.
“I think people need to hear the truth,” he added. “‘Cause everybody has their own idea. Some are healing and some are hurtful, but I just want young people, young members of the LGBTQ community — young, black children — to know how strong that they are.”