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Robin Roberts Opens Up About Her Interview with Jussie Smollett

Jussie Smollett

“It was a no-win situation for me,” she said.

Robin Roberts opened up about her Good Morning America interview with Jussie Smollet Monday during The Cut's "How I Get It Done" event at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. The noted journalist said the sit-down with the Empire actor who alleged he suffered from a homophobic and racist hate crime weeks prior "was one of the most challenging interviews" she's ever had to do, reports Page Six.

"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."

Roberts said she was initially hesitant to interview Smollett.

"I said, 'I don't want to sit down with him if he's going to lawyer up,'" she said. "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.'"

She added: "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.'"

The interview took place on Feb. 12 and aired two days later. By then, however, then-unconfirmed leaks from the Chicago police department had introduced the idea that the brothers who who'd been detained said the actor paid them to stage the attack.

"People are looking at the interview through the eyes of 'How did you not know?'" Roberts said. "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," she said.

Smollett turned himself in to police after he was charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. He posted bond, and his next court date is March 14. He has maintained his innocence though hasn't released a statement.

RELATED | A Timeline of the Jussie Smollett Investigation

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