Jussie Smollett first alleged back in late January that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, setting off a whirlwind of events subsequently leading to many believing it was all a hoax. Good Morning America host Robin Roberts who sat down with the Empire actor almost three weeks ago shared details about the interview that she describes as one of the “most challenging interviews I’ve ever had to do.”
Speaking at The Cut’s “How I Get It Done” event at the 1 Hotel Bridge on Monday (March 4) Roberts explains she was initially unsure if she wanted to do the interview in the first place. She decided to go through with the sit down after they promised her she could speak about the “red flags” in Jussie’s story and that she would get new information from Smollett.
Roberts breaks down how she felt the interview was a “no-win” situation for her being a Black gay woman as she tried to be “neutral” as possible during the sit-down and that she would have pressed Smollett about the arrest of the two Nigerian men had she known.
Via Page Six:
“I said, ‘I don’t want to sit down with him if he’s going to lawyer up. And then I was told, ‘He wants to speak with you,’ [because] he was outraged by people making assumptions about whether it had happened or not.”
“They said, ‘He wants to say things that he has not said’ and I’m like, ‘As a journalist, as a newsperson, this is newsworthy, he’s going to go on record for the first time, yes I’ll do the interview.”
“I sit down with him, and I don’t know what he’s going to say. Following up [about how] he couldn’t believe people didn’t believe him, well I go, ‘You’re out 2 o’clock in the morning, you’re getting a sandwich, [and] you won’t give up your phone.’”
“People are looking at the interview through the eyes of ‘How did you not know? I did the interview 48 hours before then. Had I had that information or [knew] what the brothers were alleging, heck yeah, I would have asked him about that.”
“I pride myself in being fair, I know how much work went into being balanced about what had happened and to challenge him on certain things.”
If this all pans out to be a hoax after the dust settles, we would understand if Roberts wants to issue Jussie Smollett a fade for wasting her time.
Photo: Stephen Green / Getty