Musician and actor Jussie Smollett said he's "pissed off" that people doubt his story of allegedly being attacked in a possible hate crime in an interview with Robin Roberts that aired on Thursday's 'Good Morning America.' Smollett also cleared the air on several questionable issues with the alleged perpetrators, such as what he called the "MAGA thing."
Smollett said critics not only don't believe the truth, they "don't even want to see the truth."
"What is it that has you so angry? Is it the attackers?" Roberts asked.
"It's the attackers but it's also the attacks," Smollett said.
"At first it was a thing of like, 'Listen, if I tell the truth, then that's it, cause it's the truth,'" Smollett said. "Then it became a thing of like, 'Oh, how can you doubt that? Like how do you not believe that? It's the truth.' And then it became a thing like, 'Oh, it's not necessarily that you don't believe that this is the truth. You don't even want to see the truth.'"
"I think people need to hear the truth," he said. "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."
Smollett said the alleged assailants wore 'Make America Great Again' hats and yelled, 'This is MAGA country' at him.
"I never said that," Smollett said about the MAGA controversy. "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 some racist sundae."
"I could only go off their words," the actor said of the motivation. "I mean, who says, 'f***** 'Empire' n*****, this is MAGA country,' ties a noose around your neck and pours bleach on you? And this is just a friendly fight?"
"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 cooperated with, somehow has gotten twisted into being some bull that it's not," Smollett lamented.
Smollett said he feels like if he blamed a Muslim or a Mexican, or someone black then the "doubters" would have supported his account of events immediately.
"I have to acknowledge the lies, and the hate," he said. "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."
"I will never be the man that this did not happen to," Smollett said. "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."
Smollett on why he kept a "white rope draped around" his neck: "I was looking at myself, just like checking myself out. I saw the bruise on my neck, you know, like the little -- the rope burn around my neck. So when the police came I kept the clothes on, I kept the rope on me. ... I mean, it wasn't, like, wrapped around. But, yeah, it was around because I wanted them to see."
Smollet explains why he didn't initally give his cell phone to police: "They wanted me to give my phone to the tech for three to four hours. I'm sorry but I’m not gonna do that. I have private pictures and videos and numbers."