The early stages of Jussie Smollett's attack left many in shock, partially because the actor had not yet publicly addressed what had allegedly happened to him.
That eventually changed, however, when he chose to sit down with Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts, who he opened up to about the reported attack for the first time. In the now-infamous interview, Smollett detailed what allegedly happened to him through tears. Of course, we know what came next — an investigation into Smollett’s claims that still has most people unsure of who to believe. With some time passing since the interview, Roberts is now revealing that she actually had major reservations leading up to the sit-down.
According to Page Six, during The Cut's "How I Get It Done" event on Monday, Roberts said that, initially, she was unsure whether or not she should be the one to facilitate Smollett's first public statement on the attack.
"I'll be completely honest. I was like, 'I don't know if I want to do the interview or not,'" she said. "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."
To put her reservations at bay, the higher ups at GMA reassured her that she had the green light to crack down on Smollett during the interview and ask him any questions that may be considered uncomfortable in any other setting.
"They said, 'He wants to say things that he has not said,' and I'm like, 'As a journalist, as a news person, this is newsworthy," she said. "'He's going to go on record for the first time. Yes, I'll do the interview.'"
Roberts, an openly queer woman, explained that she actually felt pressured into doing the interview as she thought it was her duty to represent the community. However, with this responsibility came the task of striking the right balance.
"I'm a Black gay woman, he's a Black gay man," she said. "He's saying that there's a hate crime, so if I'm too hard, then my LGBT community is going to say, 'You don't believe a brother.' If I'm too light on him, it's like, 'Oh, because you are in the community, you're giving him a pass.' It was a no-win situation for me."
When sharing her final thoughts on the conversation, she confidently dubbed it "one of the most challenging interviews I've ever had to do."
(Photos from left: Ethan Miller/Getty Images, Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)