Jussie Smollett Staged Hate Crime?


Brian To/Variety/REX/Shutterstoc

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Brian To/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (8538719as) Jussie Smollett ‘Empire’ Spring Premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA – 20 Mar 2017

Jasmine Hildred, Reporter

Actor Jussie Smollett was allegedly attacked Jan. 29 by two masked men outside a hotel in Chicago. He said they yelled racist and homophobic remarks making references to his show Empire and to President Donald Trump’s signature slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Smollett said one of them tied a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him and then they left.

Smollett went from being a well-known character on the Fox show Empire to being arrested for allegedly filing a false police report. Smollett’s initial claims came into question, suggesting that Smollett set up the hate crime attack himself because he was unhappy with his salary, and the attack was staged to his benefit.

“I really thought he was telling the truth because I wouldn’t think anyone would lie about something like that” junior Grace Miller said.

Police didn’t find any surveillance video of the attack even though it was in a heavily trafficked area with plenty of cameras nearby. The police then arrested Smollett on Thursday. They said that Smollett had paid two men, one of whom he knew from Empire, to fake the attack.

Reports of the attack were met with a wide spread of support from Smollett’s colleagues, the LGBTQ community at large, and politicians. Empire co-creator Danny Strong responded to the attack in a tweet supporting Smollett.

I’m deeply horrified and saddened by the racist and homophobic attacks against Smollett. He is a kind and profoundly talented soul whom I respect with all my heart,” Strong tweeted.

The producers of Empire, who originally defended the actor, announced that they will remove all of Smollett’s scenes from the final episodes of the show’s current season to avoid further disruptions on set.

“Jamal was my favorite character in the show, but I don’t think he deserves to continue being on the show for what he did,” junior Ashleigh Nelson said.

Smollett’s false accusations have put doubt in the stories of victims of other hate crimes. Some argue that it’s a mistake to believe any allegation without concrete proof. While others say that the accused should face consequences without due process. It’s important that the voices of survivors are heard and taken seriously.