Jussie Smollett regrets doing this infamous sit-down with Robin Roberts in 2019. In a rare interview, the actor said he was “sad” to see it for the first time last year.
Smollett spoke with SiriusXM’s Sway Calloway about the promotion B-Boy Blueshis first work since he was fired Empire when police found out he had organized his own hate crime. The 40-year-old actor shed new light on his mentality three years ago and revealed that he did not know the reactions on the internet for a long time. Smollett, who was sentenced to 150 days in prison for lying to police, says he is innocent but would like to speak differently.
“I did not want to do an interview,” Smolett said Shake in the morning, explaining that he initially wanted to respond to the challengers directly on social media. His team identified the videos – which he still has on his phone – as “very angry” and “defensive”. “I love and respect Robin Roberts … I did not want to do this interview. This interview was not for me, it was for my character.”
Smollett did not actually attend the interview until he was played by prosecutors at last year’s trial.
“I watched it and I was scared. I mean, I was upset. I mean, I just shivered with it, every word I said in that interview was true, but there was a certain level of documentary that came from why I did not want to be there,” he said. I was so angry and so offended that I had to go on national television and explain something that happened to me. And it was so political, and it was all that stuff, and I found myself dealing with my own internalized homophobia. “
Smollett, who is black and gay, said he was trying to “represent all of us who were attacked based on who we are … but I also did not want to associate with people who were attacked.”
“I’m sincerely sorry to say that … I felt like I just became an af ***** who hit his ass,” he continued. “Or at least I felt that people were seeing me. And so, I was trying so hard to, like posture, he hit me and then I hit him back and I said ‘My God … You look ridiculous'”.
Smollett stands by everything he said during the interview, but at the time “did not know what it was.” A little over a week later, he was arrested for making a false police report. Authorities say the actor staged the attack to further his career, a narrative that Smollett dismisses.
“If I did something, it would not be like looking like a victim. It would be like looking, if nothing else, at someone strong,” he said, pointing out that he did not need “some kind of ascent”. in his career. “I was up and down.”
Smollett’s family picked up his phone when the scandal broke out.
“When I say I was excluded from the world, I was excluded from the world,” he said. “I was not allowed to enter social media.”
The actor decided to Google himself “about a year later”.
“The worst idea ever,” he said. “I really saw what it was and it was so painful. Why did I say, ‘Oh, he said that about me.’ Oh my God. Oh, he said that. What;”
One person who did not disappoint the actor is his ex Empire co-star, Taraji P. Henson. The two have maintained a friendship and she helped fund his new film.
“I was just with Taraji in Atlanta the day before yesterday. This is my heart. My heart, we had a better time going to brunch,” Smollett said. “I love this woman. It’s inexplicable how much I love this woman and she is literally one of my best friends in the whole world.”
Smollett spent six days in prison after his conviction in March, but was released on appeal in 2021.