Jussie Smollett has spoken out in a public forum for the first time since getting brutally attacked in Chicago late last month.
At various points in his sit-down today with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, the Empire actor had to fight back tears as he discussed what happened to him early in the morning of January 29.
"I'm pissed off," Smollett told Roberts early in their chat, citing the criticism he's received from doubters of the attack.
Indeed, a bunch of morons out there actually think Smollett isn't telling the truth about what happened to him.
They somehow don't believe what Smollett has told the police -- which is that two masked men taunted him with racial and anti-gay taunts around 2 a.m., screaming that he's in "MAGA country" and placing a rope around his neck.
The offenders also battered Smollett with their hands and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.
It was a hate crime. It was a modern-day lynching. It was an act of domestic terrorism.
"It's the attackers, but it's also the attacks," Smollett continued.
"You know, at first it was a thing of, if I tell the truth, that's it, because it's the truth. Then it became a thing of like, oh, how can you doubt that? How do 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 is the truth, you don't even want to see the truth."
Smollett transported himself to a local hospital after the attack and waited a little bit prior to calling the cops.
For what reason?
"There's a level of pride there," he told Roberts.
"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."
As he recalled the night the incident took place, Smollett said that he fought back after one of the attackers “punched him in the face,” and after some “tussling,” the fighting “just stopped.”
He told Roberts that the assault “felt like minutes but was probably, like, 30 seconds.”
Smollett is African-American, of course, and he came out as gay during an appearance on Ellen in 2015.
“They called me a f—-t, they called me a n–ga. There’s no which way you cut it,” Smollett said.
“I’ve heard that it was a date gone bad, which I also resent that narrative. I’m not gonna go out and get a tuna sandwich and a salad to meet somebody. That’s ridiculous. And it’s offensive.”
Police have released photos of two suspects, via surveillance footage, and Smollett is convinced these were his attackers.
"I do...'cause I was there. For me when that was released, I was like OK, we are getting somewhere. I don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them. I never did," he told Roberts.
Smollett, who insists he's cooperating with authorities, released a lengthy statement to Essence on February 1 to thank fans for “the outpouring of love and support," adding:
“These types of cowardly attacks are happening to my sisters, brothers and non-gender conforming siblings daily.
"I am not and should not be looked upon as an isolated incident.”
In response to Smollett's interview, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis released a statement on Thursday that reads as follows:
Jussie Smollett was victimized first in a hate-motivated and violent attack in Chicago and has since been doubly victimized as the subject of speculation by the media industry and broader culture.
Jussie is rising above hate, racism, homophobia, and doubt surrounding the attack and instead using his voice and talent to fight back against the rising rates of violence against Black and LGBTQ people, as well as those who live at the intersection of those identities.
GLAAD joined with Color of Change to condemn the racism and homophobia that fueled the physical violence against Jussie and today we double down on that stance, while also calling out a culture where LGBTQ people of color are too often the last to be believed.
Jussie's experience is sadly not unique in today's America and we all must lock arms to change that.