Robin Roberts On Jussie Smollett Interview: 'It Was A No-Win Situation For Me'
"I was like, 'I don’t know if I want to do the interview...'"
According to Page Six, Roberts was hesitant to speak with the actor, who claimed in late-January that he was attacked by Trump supporters in Chicago after getting Subway. However, he was charged with felony disorderly conduct and for allegedly filing a false police report.
“I’ll be completely honest, I was like I don’t know if I want to do the interview [with Smollett] or not,” Roberts explained during an event for The Cut on Monday (Mar. 4). "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... '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.'"
Roberts continued to discuss how she tried to approach the interview as "neutral" as possible, however, she discussed that it was a "no-win situation" for her as a journalist and a member of the LGTBQ community.
“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.'”
A few days after the interview aired, two brothers came forward with allegations that they were paid by the Empire star to help carry out the attack.
“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,” Roberts explained. “There’s so many people who do not come forward because others are not believed. I don’t know how this is all going to end... It was one of the most challenging interviews I’ve ever had to do."