Alleged Jussie Smollett Hate Crime Hoax Causes Distraction


Louis Sanders, Lead Staff Writer

This past Saturday, SNL slammed Jussie Smollett over an alleged hate crime hoax. Smollett has been the topic of discussion of several news segments and the butt of the joke for multiple comedians.

On January 29, 2019, ‘Empire’ actor, Jussie Smollett was reportedly hospitalized after an apparent hate crime in a Chicago neighborhood. Smollett alleged that two white males donning red “Make America Great Again” caps assaulted Smollett after he returned from a local Subway. After yelling racial and homophobic slurs towards Smollett, the two men physically attacked Smollett and then proceeded to throw bleach on him and hang a noose around his neck.

Later, on February 13, the Chicago Police Department apprehend two Nigerian brothers at O’Hare International Airport as two persons’ of interest. The day before, CPD released a statement that stated that Smollett only turned over some of his phone records, not all. This led to speculation that the alleged hate crime was staged.

The two brothers knew Smollett and had even been extras on “Empire.” They informed Chicago PD that Smollett had paid them to stage an attack and released a statement admitting their guilt and regret in their role in the alleged hoax.

As more evidence comes out the initial support for Smollett has turned into skepticism. Stand-up comedian, D. L. Hughley, has been one of those critics. “I thought the story didn’t ring true initially, but you want to give people the benefit of the doubt. But it got more cumbersome and more cluttered, and we are where we are today.”

The larger concern is that victims of hate crimes will face more scrutiny and doubt around the occurrence of hate crimes. While the jokes were bound to happen, it is important that above all else, that victims’ stories are not just heard but listened to.