Jussie Smollett is opening up about the violent assault he experienced back in January and how it has already reshaped his life.
News of the alleged hate crime swept the nation last month after the Empire star was attacked by two people who not only physically harmed him but yelled homophobic and racial slurs.
Jussie recently sat down with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts to recount the details of the assault.
“I heard ‘Empire,’ and I don’t answer to ‘Empire.’ My name ain’t ‘Empire,’ and I didn’t answer,” he said.
“I kept walking, and then I heard ‘[homophobic slur] ‘Empire’ [N-word].’ So, I turned around and I said, ‘[What] the f—k did you just say to me?’
“And I see the attacker, masked and he said, ‘This MAGA country, [N-word].’ Punches me right in the face. So I punched his a— back. And then we started tussling, and it was very icy.”
He continued, “We ended up tussling by the stairs, fighting, fighting, fighting. There was a second person involved who was kicking me in my back, and then it just stopped. And they ran off.”
Not only did they punch him, but they also poured a chemical and put a rope around his neck.
“I will never be the man that this did not happen to. I am forever changed.”
Jussie was also reportedly on the phone with his manager at the time of the attack, but he didn’t hand over his phone records until 13 days after the attack.
“They wanted me to give my phone to the tech for three to four hours. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to do that,” he explained.
Despite the physical and emotional pain that he suffered, Jussie is appreciative of the love and support he’s received from people all over the world.
“The most important thing I can say is thank you so much, and I’m OK. I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to [be], and I’m gonna stand strong with y’all,” he said.
“I couldn’t let those motherf—kers win. I will always stand for love.”
.@JussieSmollett tells @RobinRoberts that there is no doubt in his mind that the men pictured in surveillance footage attacked him. "I don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them." See more of the EXCLUSIVE interview TOMORROW on @GMA. https://t.co/3HbyU2SFxe pic.twitter.com/hiNGiHDyl0
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 13, 2019