In the early hours of Jan. 29, 2019, “Empire” star and gay rights activist Jussie Smollett was allegedly attacked in what the Chicago Police Department called a “potential racially charged hate crime.”
According to Smollett, he was leaving a Subway restaurant when two white men, wearing “MAGA” hats and ski masks, beat him, poured bleach on him and tied a noose around his neck. Smollett also alleges that the two men called him racial and homophobic slurs.
Chicago is consistently a liberal town, with 83% of the city voting to elect Hilary Clinton as president of the United States in 2016. I am not sure how many men who support Trump are watching “Empire.” His story just seemed off to me, but I believed him, as did many others. Many celebrities and politicians vocally supported Smollett following the attack.
In the weeks following his alleged attack, the Chicago Police Department has now arrested Smollett for filing a false police report and orchestrating the entire crime. The Chicago Police Department has also arrested two Nigerian brothers, one of whom was an extra on “Empire,” as suspects. Both brothers have acknowledged their roles in the crime, but they have insisted that they followed orders given to them by Smollett and that he paid them $3,500.
When the news first broke of his alleged attack, I was heartbroken and I believed Smollett without a doubt, but after more details emerged, his story became more bizarre with every new detail.
I do not want to jump to conclusions because this is America where you are innocent until proven guilty and Smollett has not yet been found guilty. But if this entire ordeal was false, it is absolutely devastating.
America is already riddled with so much hate and division and Smollett’s allegations have caused even more division. Hate crimes, like the one Smollett alleges happened to him, happen all the time to people in America. For Smollett to try to profit off of people’s pain is unacceptable, because for many people in the black and LGBT communities, this is a reality they face every day.
A part of me still hopes this is all a mix-up and that Smollett is telling the truth, even though deep down I am certain that this attack was faked. At a time in America when stories of discrimination are so prevalent, the last thing anyone who is a member of the LGBT community or a supporter of equality needs is an openly gay black man becoming the face of “fake news” and adding more fuel for racists and homophobic people to spread their hate.
Smollett was arrested Feb. 20, but he and his lawyers are still adamantly denying that the attack was fake and staged by Smollett.
My question is, why? Why stage this entire attack? Why make up this entire story? Nothing Smollett or his lawyers say can justify any of this, and I wonder what’s going to be done to rectify this, especially since it hurts the cause of gay black men.
I really do not have any answers because I am devastated that Smollett, who has been so active in advocating equality for minorities as well as the LGBT community, would do all of this. Smollett has made it even harder to be a gay black man in America.
How do you forgive a celebrity who has damaged the credibility of millions of minorities and the LGBT community who are less fortunate?