In case you have a life, and unlike me werent half blogging and half staring aimlessly at your ceiling last night pondering the meaning of life, you might not know that news broke last night in the Jessie Smollett case. In case you have a life outside of politics and have no idea what I’m talking about, Jussie Smollett is the star of an urban television drama called “Empire” who was recently “hospitalized during a homophobic, racially motivated attack.” Celebrities and politicians — including presidential candidate Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and socialist firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — have rallied around him, decrying this “hate crime” and seizing this opportunity to paint their political opposition as malicious, dangerous predators. But new evidence suggests that the entire ideal was orchestrated by Jussie himself.
Below are some excerpts from the Vulture article detailing his interview on Good Morning America.
On the night of the incident, Smollett said he arrived home to find there was no food in his apartment. So, he went to Walgreens to find food and have a cigarette. Walgreens was closed, so he walked across the street to Subway… After grabbing a “tuna sandwich and a salad,” as he was crossing the intersection, he heard someone shout Empire.
“I heard ‘Empire.’ And I don’t answer to Empire. My name ain’t Empire. And I didn’t answer…And then I heard ‘faggot Empire nigger.’ So, I turned around and I said, ‘Fuck did you just say to me?’ And then I see the attacker, masked. And he said, ‘This is MAGA country, nigger.’ Punches me right in the face. So, I punched his ass back.”
“And then, we started tussling, you know, it was very icy. And we ended up tussling by the stairs, fighting, fighting, fighting. There was a second person involved who was kicking me in my back. Then it just stopped. And they ran off.”
After the scuffle, Smollett noticed that he had a rope wrapped around his neck and his sweater had been stained with bleach.
When asked why he thought he was targeted, Smollett said it might be for his criticism of President Donald Trump.
“I could only go off of their words. I mean, who says ‘faggot Empire nigger,’ ‘This is MAGA country, nigger,’ ties a noose around your neck, and pours bleach on you?”
I understand wanting to give people the benefit of the doubt, but his account of what happened had more red flags in it than Tiananmen Square.
Let’s start off with the idea that two Trump loving white dudes are knowledgeable enough of a show about drug dealers turned music moguls and their dysfunctional family to actually recognize an actor from the show off of the street. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but this is probably the equivalent of Connie Britton claiming she was targeted by gang bangers who called her “that cracker from Nashville.”
Also, the ridiculous dialogue should have raised suspicions at the very least. “This is MAGA country, nigger.” I mean, come on. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but no one talks like that. Listening to liberals make up stories about Trump supporters reminds me of when white people pretend to be black on Twitter or undercover cops that are really bad at the undercover aspect.
Not to mention this all happened in Chicago. You’re telling me that in one of the most liberal cities in the country — during one of the coldest times of the year in an already notoriously cold place — two Trump supporters were staking out Jussie Smollett of all people so they could half carry out a racist, homophobic attack before running off? Again, I’m not saying it’s impossible — but come on.
I’ve never been in a fight, but I can’t imagine noticing a rope being tied around my neck and bleach poured on me AFTER these two ski masked vigilantes had run off.
And then, as if the story wasn’t sketchy enough, Jussie contends that he was targeted due to his “outspokenness against the President.” As if virtually every one of his peers hasn’t been doing the same repetitive song and dance since 2015? Too much didn’t add up.
But people were quick to believe a story that made absolutely no sense because they already think so little of everyone that disagrees with them.
They were ready and willing to accept a half baked story that sounded like it was completed with mad libs because it confirmed everything they thought they knew already about conservatives. You could even argue that people were so blinded by their hatred of the President and his supporters that against all reason, they WANTED to believe a story that sounded like it was concocted by a 10th grader trying to lie their way out of getting grounded for coming home late.
I remember election night — and more importantly the day after the election — like it was yesterday. I’m going to be honest about how I was feeling: I was both disgusted with the collective tantrum and melodrama of my peers, and endlessly entertained by it. Full disclosure: I can be one vindictive bitch. I literally felt surges of serotonin flooding my brain with every miserable tweet, status and post I saw for like a solid 4 days after the election. I’m not proud of it, but I’m also not that sorry. People that ridiculed me for months on end over my political views were actually on the verge of mental breakdowns over an election that most of them hadn’t paid attention to outside of an obligatory video share, and it was amazing. I loved every minute of it. Sue me.
But what particularly stuck with me was the sheer absurdity of the post-election “hate crime surge” being peddled — and most alarmingly, being blindly accepted as truth by people that I considered otherwise sane and rational.
There were so. many. absurd. examples.
I remember a gay couple sharing a photo of a nasty note left on their car following the election by evil Trump supporters. Right. Because when someone really wants to shake you up and scare you out of their neighborhood, they type out a letter and leave it in your car instead of…I don’t know…spray painting it, keying it or busting your windows.
I remember someone sharing this literally the day after the election. Because nothing screams “hate crime” like slurs written with a car marker. Because racists always keep them handy, and even though they hate you for the color of your skin would never want to have to inconvenience you with real spray paint.
I remember a Muslim girl claiming 3 Trump supporters attacked her on the subway while screaming “Donald Trump!” The story was shared by dozens of my peers. She later admitted to making the story up.
It turns out that Jussie staged the attack and paid two Nigerians around $5,000 to carry it out. And people took his word for it without a second thought.
We’ve gone so far in demonizing people that disagree with us that we’d rather throw caution to the wind, assume the worst and be proven right than use our brains and see the world the way it is instead of the way we perceive it. And this isn’t exclusive to one side or ideology.
Liberals are guilty. Conservatives are too. I myself am guilty. But more than anyone, I think the pundits on both ends of the spectrum that use their platforms to stoke tensions and exploit everyone’s worst instincts to boost ratings and fatten their paychecks are to blame. And we should all be ashamed that we’ve reached a point in American discourse where people are willing to believe anything as long as it confirms their worldview.
Hate, evil and bigotry exist in this world, and they always will. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it, and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight it. But if we’re so hard pressed for evidence of what a horrible world we live in — or how terrible our political adversaries are, maybe it’s time to consider the possibility of the world we live in not being so horrible at all, and the people we disagree with not being the monsters we thought they were.