Jussie Smollett is a singer and actor. He has won praise for his role as Jamal Lyon on the popular TV Show Empire. On January 29, 2019 Smollett filed a report with the Chicago Police Department stating that two white men in ski masks beat him, threw bleach on him and put a rope with a hangman’s noose around his neck while shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him.
News of the attack went viral. Celebrities and politicians condemned the attack and stated their support of Smollett. Two presidential hopefuls who are currently in Congress, even put forth an anti- lynching law in reaction to the horrible hate crime.
Then cracks in Smollett’s story began to appear. There was no video of the crime despite the fact that there are video cameras in the area were the crime took place. Rumors began circulating that Smollett was close to being Axed from Empire although the show’s producer came out in support of Smollett after the crime was announced.
Chicago Police raided the home of two “Persons of Interest” in the case. Police recovered bleach, rope and other items from the home. Police interrogated the two men before charging them. Upon interrogation they learned that the two men were brothers of Nigerian descent who worked as extras on Empire. They went to the same Gym as Smollett.
The men told police that Smollett hired them to stage the attack. Police allegedly uncovered evidence of a payment. Smollett was book on suspicion of filing a false police report which in Illinois carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
If Jussie Smollett was actually attacked and the police have it wrong then I for one, am sorry for all he has gone through. If his arrest and booking is erroneous I think he should sue the hell out of the police department. If what the police say is true and Smollett did stage this incident then he has done more damage to the cause of civil rights than he will likely ever know.
If Smollett staged this crime and then went viral with it he I has mocked every person of color who actually has been victimized by a hate crime. He has bamboozled two Presidential hopefuls of color into introducing legislation that may be looked at as a joke. He has put doubt in the minds of many white people for future actual victims of hate crimes because in the back of their minds they will be thinking, “ this just another Smollett?”
If Smollett staged the hate crime he has in so doing, sewn the seeds of doubt in white America and this is very dangerous. It will embolden hate mongers and white supremacists to say “They’re all a bunch of liars!” It will cast a shadow of doubt over ever accusation a person of color makes. It will contribute to future hate crimes because the credibility of the victim will come into question. None of these things are crimes that Smollett can be charged with and he may be totally innocent of any and all of the charges made against him by the Chicago Police. If, however, he is not innocent and he did stage the hate crime, then these unchargeable consequences are the real danger and the real crime that was committed.
From the book Black in America by The Prophet of Life
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