The Implications of Faking a Hate Crime


Courtesy of Complex

Jussie Smollett faked a hate crime in February.

Nina Rutzen, Sentry Staff Reporter

Empire star Jussie Smollett is a main topic of conversation in the worlds of entertainment and politics right now, and not because he is a stellar actor. Smollett recently accused two men of committing a hate crime against him on January 29. He claimed they wore Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats and shouted homophobic slurs. However, it has recently been discovered that this claim is false.

Before the attack, Smollett reportedly met with the men whom he wanted to stage the act. He reportedly gave each of them 100 dollars to buy a rope to choke him and ski masks so that they could disguise themselves from security cameras. They were also given 3,500 dollars each to carry out the crime.

However, these same security cameras revealed the lie, because Chicago has one of the most extensive surveillance systems in the United States. After Smollett refused to hand over several critical pieces of evidence to the police, such as his phone records, many people became suspicious of his claims. Law enforcement was eventually able to piece together the security tapes, revealing the truth about the “attack.”

On February 20, Smollett was charged with filing a fake police report. It is said that this plan was carefully put together in order to help Smollett promote his career, which would lead to a higher salary.

What Smollett did not realize is that with this faked attack, his actions would affect many other people on Earth, and not just him. In the era of the #MeToo movement, a crime such as the one committed by Smollett is extremely dangerous. His actions will likely be used in the future in order to discount the stories of people claiming that they are victims of sexual assault and hate crimes.  There are also still many victims of these heinous acts suffering because it is now significantly harder for people to come out about being a victim of such crimes due to fear of people doubting their story.

This “attack” also deepened the divide between Republicans and Democrats by promoting victimhood promulgated by Republicans. Due to the growing need for Congress to take more extreme positions on either side, they have, in turn, been extremely quick to take the side of the position that their constituents would support as well.

This was seen in the case of Smollett, an avid critic of President Trump, because, soon after news broke of the attack, many notable Democratic senators rushed to Twitter to tweet out their support for Smollett. This lead to responses by many Conservatives responding by stating that they felt that Democrats were all too quick to believe Smollett, especially with the minuscule amount of information released at that time.

After the news of the hoax broke out, Smollett was placed in custody. He later payed a 100,000 dollar bond to be released while he awaits trial. If he is convicted of all acts he turned himself into the police for, he faces up to three years behind bars.

Although it is important to draw attention to race relations, Smollett did not go about it in the right way. It is also important that people do not jump to conclusions about the truth, but rather, collect facts and then make an informed decision. We must not only understand how to correctly go about addressing these issues, but also support people who have been victims of such issues in the past, allowing their voices to be heard.