I have to say— when I first heard about the alleged attack of Jussie Smollett…actually, I’m going to be honest, I didn’t know who he was. I don’t watch “Empire” (my mother LOVES it). But the more I learned about him, specifically the fact that he is a Black gay man, I really felt bad for him. We all know how tough it is for the LGBTQ community, but it’s especially hard on the Black folks in that community. The animus within the Black community against gays has a long and complicated history; it’s one of the many things I cover in my latest novel. So hearing that this young, gay, Black man was attacked by two unknown men— assaulted amidst being shouted down by homophobic and racial slurs— well, who’s not going to be outraged by that. It seemed like millions of people condemned the attack, showering Smollett with tons of support and well-wishes upon his hospitalization. Then came the investigation. 😳
Now it turns out that it seems likely that Smollett staged the attack, utilizing two men that he met on the set of his show. The well-wishes turned into condemnation and scorn. There are now reports that he is not only being cut out of the latest episodes of “Empire,” but he may actually get fired from the show. All things considered, that’s the very least that should happen to this man.
The only question that one could ask in this case is a simple one: why? Or, what the FUCK?! He and his lawyers still seem to be in denial mode, trying to push back on the hoax claims. But the fact that he was apprehensive to turn over his phone to the Chicago police— which I honestly defended because I argued that he was still shaken by the “attack” and was afraid of the possibility of private material that he didn’t want to risk being leaked. But we’re a bit far from that concern. It looks like he made this whole thing up.
In this one idiotic move, not only did he ruin his career and his livelihood, he’s made it that much more difficult for real victims to come forward and have their stories believed. The self-serving stupidity of this man’s actions are inexcusable. He generated all that good will and energy based on a lie that he seems too dumb to realize was eventually going to be found out. Did he not think anyone would find out? Did he think that he was smarter than the police, who would have to investigate the claims? Did he think this was a smart career move?
Chances are, he didn’t think at all. It’s hard to make false accusations these days and get away with it. We are a long way off from what happened to Emmet Till. Think about how many “Black guy did it!” stories that have been proven false over the last 20-30 years. Smollett didn’t need to do this stupid shit, and I’m not sure what possessed him to believe that he had to. Unless he can prove that this isn’t a hoax, his life is over.
I hope it was worth it, Jussie…it sure doesn’t seem like it.