Jussie Smollett’s lies affect other hate crime victims
I was shocked but not surprised when I first heard Jussie Smollett was attacked by men in MAGA hats. I remember turning to my friend and saying, “This sounds like an episode of ‘Empire,’ it’s so crazy!” I mean we are living in 2019, Trump’s America, anything is possible. Then the details of what happened started to emerge and it made me think twice.
If someone tells me they are a victim I automatically believe them. I will always believe the victim until evidence proves otherwise. Celebrities and politicians were coming from every direction in support of Smollett and calling out the racists who hurt him.
I admit I had my doubts about the story from the start. I mean, who goes to get Subway during a polar vortex (Chicago was colder than Antarctica) at 2 a.m.? I think the biggest red flag is what they yelled, “Aren’t you that empire…?!” This statement made me think, “What racist white person is watching Empire in 2019?” I barely know black people who watch empire. Most of us fell off in season two. I know people are extremely racist, but who’s really trying to mess with Jamal Lyon from Empire? Before this scandal Smollett was non-problematic, which made the attack situation more shocking.
Then we started getting reports from the Cook County Chicago police that Smollett wasn’t sharing the full story with everyone. The two white men in MAGA hats were in fact two big buff Nigerian men. Then we started to hear that Smollett paid them $3,000 to stage the attack with the fake letter and all. Even with these reports I needed to see evidence to believe it because Chicago police have a history of corruption and falsifying evidence. When the video of the men purchasing the bleach and rope emerged, I was no longer on Smollett side. As the days unraveled, we found the police had a phone record of him calling the men and the check that Smollett wrote to the men.
The police charged Smollett for falsifying a police report. Smollett’s alleged motive was to make more money on his “Empire” salary. I believe that he was not working alone in his attempted hate crime hoax. I think there are more people involved. Who knows but Jussie Smollett decided to be the scapegoat so now he must face the consequences. I also want the two Nigerian men to be held responsible too. While they told the truth they still agreed to be complicit in the deceit. I’m sure if the police didn’t find out the real story those men would’ve never came out with the truth.
What makes me the most upset about this situation is there are real hate crimes happening every day. Smollett used police resources for a publicity stunt. This event does affect people when they report because it makes people second guess victims when they do report crimes. In such divided times we didn’t need a Jussie Smollett hate crime hoax.
I’m disappointed as a fan because I liked Smollett before all the drama. I thought he was a good role model for other black gay men. He never seemed like someone who would go to great lengths for exposure. It’s sad to see a someone with so much talent throw it away for nothing. We will just have to watch the justice system do their job in handling the Gay Tupac.