I am an American, no demographic subgroup required. I believe in being fair and honest with one another in all things and at all times.
Jussie Smollett, actor and singer, star of television, film, and stage, is in custody as of this morning. He recently made statements claiming a racial and homophobic attack upon his person including having an unknown liquid thrown on him, racial slurs and homophobic verbal attacks, as well as physical in the form of battery and a noose placed around his neck. This was purported as taking place while he was on the phone with his manager and yet...
From the beginning, for whatever reason it did not ring true to me. I cannot say exactly why it didn't, yet I did not wholly buy what he was selling.
Perhaps it was the reported incident and the timing of said attack. In particular, the fact that he did not immediately call police, that he reportedly walked into the hotel he was staying in, walking past a hotel employee apparently without calling attention of the attack to this person in the moment. This didn't sound right then and in hindsight it sounds even stranger.
- Jussie Smollett’s bond set at $100,000, judge calls charges ‘despicable’
Smollett paid two men $3,500 to carry out the attack after a threatening letter he sent to the “Empire” set in Chicago failed to get attention, according to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
Originally, the charges were that two men attacked Smollett around 2 AM in Chicago last month. Reportedly these men physically attacked him, hurled racial and homophobic statements and slurs before putting a noose around his neck. Names, White Supremacy statements, manifestations of lynching: a truly horrible attack upon a person in the 21st century, a time we should be well past such things if we are, as we claim to be, a civilized society.
As the police set about working the case, despite hundreds of hours spent combing through numerous security camera footage from around the area, nothing of import was found. Then a single camera with some blurry footage of two individuals in the area was located. These two individuals were termed "persons of interest" and a search ensued.
During this time, Smollett went on with his life, appearing on stage at a concert, asking for and receiving love and well wishes from fans, telling everyone who would listen to his story that he was "okay". He also was interviewed by Good Morning America personality Robin Roberts and told his story in a sometimes angry, sometimes sad manner, striving to let Robin understand that he was telling the truth, not making anything up and that everything in his story was the truth, even to the point of swearing and asking her: Why would anyone make this stuff up?
Now, everything is changing and not for the better, it appears. The two men were located and interviewed and they told a vastly different story. Additional video has been found showing these men apparently purchasing items used in the purported "crime". Additionally, at least one of these men was reportedly known to Smollett personally, even to the point of working on the set of Empire and as a personal trainer to him. They were interviewed, released and the investigation took a new direction. A much darker, much more evil direction.
Arrest and Charged
Today, Jussie Smollett was arrested for felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. This charge carries with it the potential of being sentenced for up to three years in prison. This, while being the letter of the law, seems far too lenient a sentence for the harm this incident has done and might continue to do to our society if this is ultimately proven to be true.
He has pled not guilty (of course) and has engaged attorneys to combat these charges. His attorneys have laid out a plan to discredit the police department of Chicago, to discredit the evidence and to have him found not guilty of this charade. Just once I would like a criminal to bow to the evidence against him, to admit wrongdoing and cut the losses of the city rather than continuing to waste resources proving what is known by both sides. I understand innocence until proven guilty but in cases where there are witnesses (the brothers he allegedly hired), documented communication (which is said to be in hand), and statements made during an interview Smollett voluntarily gave which included evidence not yet released, evidence that would only be known by those directly involved with the crime it would be a gesture of good faith to admit what took place and accept the court's decision. Honesty is the best policy, so it is said.
Reports are that he paid (by check, no less) $3,500 to the Nigerian brothers to stage this act. He is also said to have given an additional $100 to the brothers to purchase the items needed to commit the "crime", which they spent on hats, masks and rope for the noose and other assorted paraphernalia.
I do not understand how a person could do such a thing.
Disclaimer: These are my opinions only, and as such I am not claiming them to be factual or real in any way; they are simply my thoughts on what is becoming a twisted, potentially deeply dividing and damaging situation in our country at a time when we least needed such a divisive topic.
If what is being stated today is in fact found to be true, Jussie Smollett is a foolish man who made this entire situation up and deserves the full weight of the law to come down on his head. No leniency should be shown him, no deals cut by prosecutors seeking to get a conviction, any conviction and put this behind everybody, thus sweeping it under the rug. Nothing but a full confession a guilty verdict and a sentence to actual jail time for an extended period will satisfy this heinous claim of his. He does not need psychiatric help, he is not a victim, he is a predator in the most base and extreme definition of the word.
If this is true, Jussie Smollett owes himself, and this country a Come to Jesus meeting.
He also owes the gay portion of our society an apology; he owes the Black portion of our society an apology; and he owes the supporters of the nation's President an apology. In his pathetic attempt to gain favor on his television show, thus netting himself a pity raise in pay, he has set this country back decades in the fight for equality, in the fight for victim's rights, in the struggle of victim's to be believed in coming forth and making a statement of a crime committed against them.
He also owes Robin Roberts an apology for lying to her face and dragging her name into the mud to lie alongside of him in this despicable story.
The ramifications of this story, of an individual lying to the police, to the courts, to America as a nation while claiming to have been attacked by persons who hurled racial slurs, who bodily attacked him, who committed a hate crime on another person in America today is something which runs deep; the wounds are nowhere near closed from the recent divide between black and white, between gay and straight and he has ripped at the very fabric of the healing which had barely begun. Perhaps at no other time in our nation's history has the racial divide and the gender line been quite so prevalent, and his actions run the risk of creating hard feelings and distrust once more where tolerance and good faith had began to form.
Again, if true along comes a man who evidently has lied to every single one of us straight to our faces. A man who is well thought of in the black community, who is featured prominently in the gay community, a man who has represented both communities in a positive manner thus far if what is being said by others is true. This man has now openly humiliated, intentionally betrayed, and contemptuously put himself above every single person in this country for what is being described as simple greed.
But above all, he has violated the sacred trust that we have given every victim of a hate crime, of a violent crime, of a crime against humanity in his purported crying wolf in having been attacked. He preyed upon our sympathy, and now he has been found out. As we move forward from this ultimate betrayal of his community and our nation we must force ourselves to not be bitter, to not to look upon the next person who needs our help after an attack with a jaundiced eye, to not believe they are pulling a "Jussie" simply to get attention and pity, to gain fame or a golden treasure stolen from the graves of true victims.
Simply put, we must be the bigger person in this and not hold others accountable for what he has reportedly done. I fear it will not be an easy task but it is a task we must conquer for the sake of victims everywhere.
Again, I cannot comment on whether any of the statements made by police or by the judge are true or not at this point in time. These statements, opinions and thoughts are based entirely upon what has been reported in the case thus far. Jussie Smollett does have the right to be presumed innocent until he is proven guilty in a court of law and I have attempted to make sure that is stated in this article.
That being said, if this does prove out and he is found guilty of the charges brought against him, he could become one of the most vile and despicable individuals to this point in the 21st century. If true, the act of putting his greed above every other gay person who has been derided and attacked either physically or verbally, above every other black person who has been the subject of a hate or race crime and of being subjected to vile acts upon their person, and for putting his greed above every person who supports President Trump in the country today is truly a despicable and heinous crime and of a nature that I cannot fathom in the least. To think so little of others as he must, to be so obviously arrogant and self-centered to believe he could pull this off is beyond my comprehension.
But even as we must let it go, we must keep it close by to remind us that real injustice does occur and we must be ever vigilant to recognize it when it is revealed to us. And that we must go to them to offer assistance in their time of need. Above all else we must not become callous and judgmental, not disbelieve others who are in need of our help, our assistance.
We must be Americans first and foremost, for that is what made this country what it has become, for better or worse. Personally, I believe we have the greatest country in the history of the world and I wish most fervently that we could put aside all of the horrible portions of our past without ignoring or forgetting them, forgive the transgressions of another age and live together today in total acceptance. The more we pick one another apart the more divided our nation becomes. We must not destroy what we have here; we must do our utmost to work together to build upon the foundation laid down over 200 years ago or we run the risk of not having it last beyond the generations walking the earth today.
Will you help us?
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2019 Mr Archer
Liz Westwood from UK on February 24, 2019:
This story has grabbed some headlines in the UK too. No doubt we will hear more as the investigation continues.
Mr Archer (author) from Missouri on February 22, 2019:
He did cost time and money, but the only lasting harm done was to himself. We can move past his lies, the Black community can move past his lies, as can the gay community. We must not let what he did cause harm to actual victims.
And it would be nice if both sides of the aisle took a look at this and learned. But the media? Doubtful.
GINO SPIMONI from USA on February 22, 2019:
Smollett cost the Police Dept. lots of dollars and man time along with bringing out many rats in the Media and Political Community that does not know their butt from a bat, which we already knew existed I do thank him for that which he did well. I hope they make an example out of him. Between Smollett and the MAGA Kids that were harassed by the same Community and are creating many lawsuits as we speak, maybe the left will learn a lesson from their errors and lighten up, which I doubt.