By Staff Writer Eric Sousa.
Jussie Smollett has been successful in many endeavors; he is a music producer, open about his sexuality to curb stigma against gay culture, and a famous actor. However, recently he found something he falls short in−faking hate crimes.
In late January, Smollett, a star of the highly accredited show Empire, filed a police report stating that he was the victim of assault in downtown Chicago.
It was reported that two masked men threw racial slurs and homophobic insults at Smollett, put a rope around his neck, and poured an unknown chemical substance on him. These horrific acts garnered the sympathy of many A-list celebrities and support groups.
As time continued, however, these sympathies grew more hesitant. On February 11, the phone records that Smollett released were redacted. On Februar 13, two men were detained after their apartments were searched and MAGA hats were found, along with other incriminating contraband.
On February 16, the men were released. Investigators stated that the two men admitted to being paid to take place in a “hoax.” Chicago police arrested Jussie Smollett on February 22, and was released on bail.
As of now, Jussie Smollett is free and is awaiting a case later in March. It is difficult to get the story without hearsay or without the issue being drowned in public agenda. Some extreme news sources are vehemently defending the star, stating that it is ludicrous to believe somebody would go to those lengths to fake a hate crime. However, even normally liberal sources of opinion are vocalizing their hesitation towards the credibility of this entire endeavor.
The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah made jokes about the instance, stating that the story was always a little bit off. Saturday Night Live also hosted a joking sketch towards the event, holding a Shark Tank-like segment where no lawyers would take up his case. In the skit, the actor claimed to have been mugged by Donald Trump just in the parking lot.
The more details that come out about this, the less it feels like a hate crime and feels more like the plot to an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; “The Gang Stages a Hate Crime.”
As the story stands right now, the two brothers were paid to mug Jussie Smollett and go through the hate crime routine.
The case is quickly falling into ridicule as questions mount: why would he do that for himself? Was it worth possibly throwing his career away? Why would a seemingly successful individual feel the need to grab attention in this way?
As lighthearted as this comedic outlet makes it seem, and as ridiculous as it is to imagine a grown man plotting his own mugging, it could not be less of a joke.
Instances like these do nothing but hurt the public opinion towards taking reports like this seriously. Some are worried for long-term repercussions towards this, concerned that it might come off as a “boy who cried wolf” scenario. Or more accurately, “boy who cried MAGA.” This has the potential to keep victims of hate crimes at bay for fear of being roped into the Smollett category.
If, and I’m hoping against hope here, if Jussie Smollett comes out of this having told the truth and all these curveballs are properly batted away, I will breathe a sigh of relief. I will support him happily, and back up his image. But if evidence continues to pile against him, and the case continues to darken as it has been, then I only have this to say: Jussie Smollett, you were in the Mighty Ducks. Did you seriously forget the integrity that the youth hockey team was all about? Did you learn nothing from Emilio Estevez? For shame, Jussie. For shame.