Jussie Smollett, “Attacked”

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Jussie Smollett, “Attacked”

Grace Perincheri, Student Journalist

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It’s been a month of twists and turns since Jussie Smollett has been in the news. The actor who portrays Jamal Lyon on the television show Empire, was attacked on January 29th in Chicago. At 2 am, Smollett, who is openly gay and black, was out walking when he was approached by two men who violently attacked him by tying a noose around his neck and screaming, “This is MAGA country.”  Chicago Police soon opened a hate crime investigation and Jussie Smollett received worldwide attention. There was an outpour of support and love for Smollett as supporters of the black and gay community stood with him.

As Chicago Police conducted their investigation, footage of two men wearing MAGA hats at the time of the attack were obtained. At first, two Nigerian brothers were arrested but later released due to new developments in the case. At this point, police saw Smollett as a suspect as they had altered their investigation, “based on the premise that Mr. Smollett was an active participant in the incident.” Apparently, he felt as though he was being treated unfairly by the producers of his show and wanted a raise.

Police believe Smollett mailed a death threat to himself. The letter contained racist and homophobic language that was spelled out in cut up magazine clippings. When he showed the producers, they seemed to take the situation lightly. After all, the threat was on paper, not Twitter. The arrested brothers eventually said that Smollett had sent the death threat to himself, but was angry due to the disappointing reaction from his colleagues. Consequently, he hired the brothers to act as his muggers. It was a success, Smollet’s name was on the world stage. Maybe he would even get a raise. However, once the cops started doing their job, the plan crumbled. Surveillance footage showed the brothers purchasing materials for the attack and a check paid to them in the amount of $3,500 from Smollett for fitness training was collected as evidence. Finally, Smollett  turned himself into the Chicago Police Department and has been charged with filing a false police report.

These actions have taken a toll on society. The saddest part is that hate crimes are on the rise in this country and pretending to be a victim destroys the credibility of real victims. Jussie has lost what the communities he represents need most: acceptance, tolerance, and support, so as comical and ridiculous this story is, most of all, it is a tragedy.

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