Later last month a wave of commotion and attention was brought upon a specific hate crime investigation conducted by the Chicago Police Department, after actor Jussie Smollett claimed he was allegedly attacked by two white males. After his story made headlines, his narrative of the attack sprawled into a month long chronicle of confusing reports with twists and turns all for it to lead to a hoax.
Jussie Smollett is a well known gay and African american actor on the hit TV show, “Empire”, where he has his fame to thank for. It is believed by Chicago P.D that Smollett faked his own hate crime after he was allegedly upset over his pay on his show and believed a hate crime would help for his benefit. Before the reported attack that took place on January 22, Smollett sent himself a threatening letter on the set of “Empire” which contained racial and homophobic slurs and threats and the following letters, MAGA (Make America Great Again). When the letter went unnoticed, Smollett constructed an attack on himself and was believed to have paid two Nigerian brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, to attack him. It is still not clear if the payment was made particularly for the attack or it was done for a 5-week nutrition plan they planned beforehand. In the following attack, Smollett claimed two white approached him near his Chicago apartment while yelling racial and homophobic slurs. It was then followed by the two men tying his neck around a noose while pouring an unknown chemical substance on him. This story became widely known and was followed by many of the public to wishing love and support to Smollett just like many of his co-stars have done. But when Chicago P.D were suspicious about the claims, lack of evidence, and the lack of cooperation by Smollett, were they then considered Smollett as a suspect. It was later confirmed by the two brothers after the Chicago P.D found them to be the suspects, is when they were told by the brothers that the attack was orchestrated. The case is still open and Smollett has recently been set on bail and is sticking to his initial claims. “Empire” has recently dismissed his character on the show.
There is a real issue with real victims of hate crimes who struggle with accusations of faking claims and or are accused of confusing a hate crime with just a regular assault; there was an outrage with the public. Hate crimes have increased 17% in 2017 (evidence found by the FBI) following the increase of bigotry beliefs that have been bare to the public made with the support of the current U.S president. Many have used their voices to spread a more united and loving concept instead of a belief of a more disconnected community. Smollett used this admiring and loving concept for his own personal and selfish needs and worsened the reputation of those who fight against hate crime. He is not the only who has faked their own hate crimes. Hate crimes are rising with half of them being hoaxes. There is now a fear and concern that hate crimes will now publicly be met with a level of skepticism. Many are also quick to point out that Smollett’s case shines light on the lack of attention of unsolved crimes in Chicago. Many people believe that real crimes,where lives have been lost, should get more recognition and help as it was provided to Smollett. There is a real issue that this case has been brought upon people’s attentions.
Never use your real people problems for your own personal issues because in the end of the day, they are the ones who are being hurt. Hate crimes are a real issue here in the US, and I hope that even without hoaxes are coming forward, that it won’t take away the fact that it is still a real issue. Use your voice the right way.