On October 25, 1994, a frantic young South Carolina mother named Susan Smith told police that her car had been carjacked by a black man who drove away with her two boys, aged three years old and 14 months. For nine days, with a nationwide search underway, she made tearful pleas on television for their safe return. “I wanna say to my babies,” she sobbed with her distraught husband by her side, “your mama loves you so much.” Finally her story unraveled and she confessed to intentionally sending her Mazda into a nearby lake with her two young sons strapped inside.
Apart from the unconscionable drowning of her own helpless children, Susan Smith’s story contained a racial dimension that tore at the nation’s social fabric: her false accusation that a black man had victimized a young white mother and murdered her innocent babies. It was an ugly but shrewd lie that exploited bigotry for sympathy in order to conceal her own evil.
On January 29, 2019, Jussie Smollett, a 36-year-old, gay black actor on the Fox drama series Empire, told police he had been assaulted outside his apartment building at 2 a.m. on a snowy Chicago night by two men in ski masks who identified him as the Empire actor, hurled racial and anti-gay slurs at him, draped a makeshift noose around his neck, and tossed some bleach on him before disappearing. TMZ reported that sources claimed the attackers had boasted to Smollett, “This is MAGA country”; he confirmed this in a follow-up interview with the police.
The story instantly made big news, but anyone not consumed by hatred for President Trump and his supporters immediately suspected a hoax because Smollett’s narrative lacked any credibility whatsoever. A pair of Trump supporters were walking the icy streets of Chicago at 2 a.m. with a noose and bleach (which inexplicably did not freeze in the literally sub-zero weather) when they recognized a little-known (to anyone but Empire fans) actor from a TV show no white supremacist would watch, assaulted him without causing any more physical damage than a scratch on his cheek but managed to get a noose around his neck, and then made sure to announce that “This is MAGA country”? Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago is “Make America Great Again” country? Who knew?
But Democrat politicians and celebrities predictably leapt to Smollett’s defense and denounced the Trump-inspired white supremacism that clearly was the culprit. Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, both 2020 presidential hopefuls who have taken the art of grandstanding to a stratospheric level, described the attack as a modern-day lynching. Booker wasted no time pushing Congress to pass the federal Anti-Lynching Bill he and Harris co-sponsored (because apparently our porous border isn’t a national emergency, but lynching is). Rep. Maxine Waters took a quick break from chanting “Impeach Trump!” to blame him for “emboldening” racists. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the incident undeniably a racist, homophobic attack that reflected “what is happening to our country.” Her Congressional colleague Rashida Tlaib tweeted hyperbolically that “the lies of the right wing is [sic] killing and hurting our people.” Yet another 2020 Democrat hopeful, Joe Biden, pontificated that “racism and homophobia have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, another noted pontificator, called the attack an “affront to our humanity.”*
The Progressive media, also predictably, rushed to judgment as well because that’s what they do when they see an opportunity to demonize Trump and/or his supporters (recall the hysterics over the Covington Catholic high school students?). ABC’s Good Morning America granted Smollett the kind of lengthy sit-down interview usually reserved for presidents (more on that below). Joshua Rivera at GQ, ostensibly a men’s style magazine but actually a leftist propaganda rag, race-baited that “Whiteness in 21st century America has an endgame,” and that Smollett’s attack proved “racist homophobes [are] stalking the streets of your city, who want you to know that they could lynch you if they really wanted to, and maybe get away with it too.” Kevin Fallon, a senior entertainment reporter for the Daily Beast, tweeted, “People in MAGA hats recognized and then beat and poured bleach on Jussie Smollett, calling him that ‘faggot’ from Empire. Anyone who thinks supporting You Know Who isn’t tantamount to providing artillery for weaponized bigotry needs to take a hard look in the mirror.” In light of new developments, it looks like Fallon is the one who needs to take a hard look in the mirror – but he won’t. Neither will Rivera or ABC or anyone else who wasted no time slamming white conservatives.
Hollywood leftists, of course, had to chime in because they’re all virtue-signaling posturers who live in walled estates and travel with armed bodyguards. Jussie’s co-star Grace Byers wrote that “hatred, inequality, racism and discrimination continue to course through our country's veins.” Actor Nico Tortorella said the “red hat is the white hood. No ifs ands or buts. If you wear it, you attacked Jussie.” Another purported entertainer who is light-years away from being a household name, Billy Eichner, tweeted, “I want Trump and all MAGA lunatics to burn in Hell.” The insufferable, anti-Christian bigot/actress Ellen Page declared tearfully on Stephen Colbert’s late night talk show that Vice President Mike Pence was somehow to blame. And on and on. Too many celebrities-in-their-own-minds to count.
Smollett, who is also a singer, put on a show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles only a few nights after the incident, where he greeted the crowd by saying he felt compelled to perform because he refused to “let the m*th*rf*ck*ers win.” So brave. The crowd roared in support.
He went on to participate in a (seemingly) emotional Good Morning America interview with Robin Roberts, who asked why he thought he was targeted. Smollett replied, “I come really, really hard against 45 [President Trump]. I come really, really hard against his administration, and I don’t hold my tongue.” Except when it comes to telling the truth, apparently. He also expressed frustration at not being believed. “It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim or a Mexican or someone black I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more,” he told Roberts. “And that says a lot about the place where we are as a country right now.”
Actually, what says a lot about the country right now is that the leftist media uncritically accepts and disseminates reports of hate crimes that time and again prove to be hoaxes perpetrated to stoke racial hatred of white conservatives. When exposed, the hoaxers are rarely taken to task, and the media simply moves on to the next fake incident that supports The Narrative. It says a lot about the country right now that long before the Smollett investigation was complete, and on the basis of a story that had less credibility than what I tell my kids about the tooth fairy, a professed Trump-hater can get an interview on network television, rally the national support of celebrities and power-mad leftist politicos, and become the face of identity politics resistance to “hate.”
No Trump supporters victimized by leftist Antifa thugs – truly victimized, with actual evidence such as video footage captured in broad daylight – have ever secured an interview with Robin Roberts on GMA and been asked why they believe they were targeted. (Yes, Nicholas Sandmann, the teenager at the center of the Covington controversy, was interviewed on Today by Savannah Guthrie, but the interview’s angle was that Sandmann was guilty. “Do you feel from this experience that you owe anybody an apology?” Guthrie prodded. “Do you see your own fault in any way?” This would never be asked of someone from one of the left’s Official Victim Categories.)
Police had initially found a grainy surveillance camera image of two persons of interest but no footage of Smollett being attacked. Neither he nor his manager would allow authorities to examine their phones – potentially a critical source of evidence because the two were reportedly in mid-conversation with each other when the attack occurred. The manager said he actually heard the attack, including the phrase “MAGA country” and a racial slur. Eventually Smollett turned over phone records too heavily redacted to be of any assistance in the investigation.
Then Smollett’s story began to unravel. On February 13, police raided the home of the two persons of interest in the surveillance photo. Turns out they weren’t white Trumpsters who get their kicks from sub-zero lynchings, but Nigerian bodybuilders and brothers who just coincidentally happen to know Smollett. They have even acted as extras on Empire. Police found bleach in the residence and evidence that the rope found around Smollett’s neck was purchased at a nearby hardware store. The two men had left the country for Nigeria the day after the incident and were arrested after arriving on a return flight February 13. Sources say that the two are cooperating fully with police and admitted to being paid $3,500 by Smollett to stage the attack before leaving for Nigeria and promised an additional $500 upon their return. As for Smollett, he has hired a criminal defense attorney team.
The whole story has yet to be pieced together. As of this writing, Smollett has neither confessed nor been found guilty of anything. Indeed, he claimed through an attorneys’ statement that he is “angered” and “devastated” by insinuations that he orchestrated the incident. If further investigation confirms that the actor was indeed assaulted by two white, racist Trump supporters, then I will do what practically no one in the mainstream media or the entertainment industry who accepted his story unquestioningly is doing now: publicly apologize. But at this moment, everything points to Smollett having concocted a hate crime, weaponized it in service to the left’s hateful ideology, and milked it for nationwide sympathy and possibly a career boost (a rumor has circulated that Smollett was about to be written off his show).
How will all those who rushed to condemn white people, Trump supporters, Mike Pence, America in general, etc. respond if and when Jussie Smollett proves to have staged the attack? Good Morning America and the rest of the mainstream media won’t follow up with an apology. Neither will any of the Democrat politicians who exploited it. Neither will any of the holier-than-thou moral paragons in the cesspool of decadence that is Hollywood. They will find a way to spin the narrative. They will claim that being morally right supersedes being factually correct (as if the two are not inextricably linked), and say that Smollett sparked a conversation that we need to have in this country about our corrosive legacy of slavery, about the rising white cisgender supremacism in the country, blah blah blah. They will not take responsibility, much less question their own ideological fundamentalism.
Unlike Susan Smith, Jussie Smollett didn’t commit a monstrous crime. But like Susan Smith’s lie, Jussie Smollett’s ratcheted up racial tensions in America and drove the wedge deeper between the political left and right. In addition to wasting police resources that could have gone toward legitimate criminal investigations in crime-rotten Chicago, Smollett has betrayed the minority communities that he supposedly championed. He has made things more difficult for actual victims of bigotry. And he has fueled the ongoing demonization of white conservatives in America as the fount of all racism, oppression, and hatred. That’s the real hate crime here.
But this isn’t all on Smollett; Hollywood, the news media, and Democrat Party bigwigs were all complicit. They weren’t taken in by him, because to them it was irrelevant whether his claims were true or not. All that mattered, and all that will matter to them henceforth, was to keep on the offensive, to keep up the pressure on evil President Trump and white America.
* Thanks to Quillete editor Andy Ngo for collating these responses and many more from figures who rushed to judgment about the purported assault.