Empire Actor Jussie Smollett Hate Crime Controversy Thickens

An attack a few weeks ago has some accusing the actor of staging it to save his job on his NBC show Empire… or for some other reason (=O)

Jussie Smollett has been a lead on Fox’s  Empire  since the show’s start in 2015

Jussie Smollett has been a lead on Fox’s Empire since the show’s start in 2015

2/15/19, 8:39 pm EST

By John Corry, photo from Los Angeles Times and Fox

This story is ongoing.

In January, Empire (Fox) actor Jussie Smollett claimed that he was attacked at 2 a.m. on the 29th in Chicago on a late Subway-sandwich run. The alleged attackers wore MAGA hats (demons) and allegedly beat him and wrapped a ‘noose’ around his neck while shouting ‘this is MAGA country!!!’, amidst ‘further’ racial and homophobic slurs.

If this matters: Smollett is black and gay.


Smollett then walked home, waited an hour to call police, and refused to allow police to look through his cell phone to corroborate Smollett’s part of the story wherein he was on the phone with his manager when the attack started. In addition, cameras throughout the city picked up all but 60 seconds between when Smollett left his apartment and when he returned. Coincidentally, these were the 60 seconds in which the attack occurred.

In the past few days, more details have emerged, though the full picture remains blurred: police have arrested two men in association with the attack (both black /> if that matters), and one of them has acted on Empire before. This alone has led some to assume the worst (that Smollett staged the attack). Police are also allegedly looking into whether Smollett staged the attack, although Smollett and Fox have vehemently denied this claim.

Here’s a thought experiment: maybe this did happen. When someone comes out with a story, it’s always better to assume honesty on the part of the victim, rather than the other way around, until all of the evidence is out (because: what if you were in that situation?). That’s obviously no reason to FREAK OUT over anything, but god forbid this bullshit actually did happen to the guy. That’s shitty thing, and Smollet should by no means be chastised simply for being who he is and being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Until all the evidence is out, this is the only way to go about this, if we have to ‘go about this’ (emotionally speaking) at all (which we shouldn’t– or at least not until all the evidence is out).

On the other hand: does it look like this might be staged? A little bit. And if it is, that says something a lot more complicated than the simple ‘MAGA fucks are MAGA fucks’ (which is obvious /> and obviously just as bad (just. as. bad.), but a person staging an attack like this has a dishonesty and manipulation factor rendering her aversion to power-politics more psychological (because its not just two fucks being two fucks– there’s some actual thought in this (if Smollett indeed staged the attack))).

What does it say about the state of our politics if a famous black, gay dude (if. that. matters.) feels the need to fake a late-night beating in order to make a political point? Objectively, it at least partly means that people on the other general side of the political aisle (conservatives in this case) probably aren’t listening as well as they should be (AHEM!), but also partly that this guy is going a little fucking crazy: dishonesty and manipulation are never good avenues to truth, and they almost always end badly, no matter how well intentioned.

If Smollett didn’t fake the attack, these accusations must surely suck to hear…

Whatever the case, one thing is for sure:

Jussie Smollett is black and gay (because THAT. MATTERS. (and only that)).