Jussie Smollett's chickens are being dragged to the roost
After the election of Donald Trump, there was a rise in hate crime hoaxes. Note: I did not say hate crimes. The crimes supposedly committed by right-wing Trump-supporting thugs were actually hoaxes. We are all familiar with the attempted lynching of Brett Kavanaugh. Many of us were appalled at the attack on Nick Sandmann. In my opinion, though, the most egregious of the anti-Trump hate crimes was perpetrated by Jussie Smollet back in 2019.
Jussie Smollet was an actor on a primetime soap opera called Empire, where the characters rejoiced in names like Luscious and Cookie. I do not care for soap operas. My tastes run to film noir and foreign films. I had not heard of Empire before the Smollett incident, but it seems the show made him famous. In his own mind, he was not famous enough, so, apparently, he was attacked by racist Trump supporters, which made him an international figure.
Smollett's story began to unravel almost immediately. He claimed to have been out at 2:00 A.M. in Chicago, in freezing temperatures, to buy a sandwich. He claimed he was attacked by two men in MAGA hats, who yelled racial slurs and pro-Trump slogans, then put a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him. He claims to have fought back, and he was so valiant that he saved not only his life but also his cell phone in one hand and his sandwich in the other. Dave Chappelle mocked Smollet's story in his Netflix special "Sticks and Stones." (Warning: graphic language and racial slurs.)
Certainly, it was an absurd story, a transparent attempt to brand Trump-supporters as monsters while propelling Smollett to new heights of fame. Clearly, he would have been better off sticking to acting, where he was given lines, rather than producing, where one must create a plausible story that the audience can believe.
No one thought Smollett would get away with this nonsense. He was charged with filing a false police report. But then prosecutors dropped the charges against him, sealed all the evidence, and closed the records.
The outrage was so great that a special prosecutor was assigned to investigate the handling of Smollett's case. In August 2020, the special prosecutor concluded that State Attorney Kim Foxx abused her power in dropping the charges against Smollett.
The pandemic intervened, but Jussie Smollett is finally going to be brought to trial. He has been indicted for a second time for filing a false police report and faces additional felony charges of disorderly conduct for lying to the police about being the victim of a hate crime. He may or may not be convicted, and if convicted, he may or may not go to prison. In any case, there is some small measure of justice in seeing a hate-crime hoaxer being held accountable for his actions.
Pandra Selivanov is the author of The Pardon, a story of forgiveness based on the thief on the cross in the Bible.
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