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Jussie Smollett arrested for allegedly staging hate crime

by Imani Coaxum - Staff Writer
Tue, Mar 5th 2019 10:00 pm
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Feb. 21 Smollet was arrested (left) by the Chicago police on four felony charges. This resulted in the show cutting him from the final episodes.

In January of 2019, “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was allegedly attacked in Chicago in what law enforcement called a possible hate crime. Two attackers yelled out “racial and homophobic slurs” and poured an “unknown substance” on Smollett, according to authorities.

According to CNN News, one of the attackers then put a rope around Smollett’s neck and fled the scene. Smollett then took himself to Northwestern Hospital and appeared to be in good condition.   

Smollett portrays a black, queer character on “Empire” and identifies as such outside of the character. News of the story was met with immense amounts of support from other celebrities, especially those involved with the LGBTQ community and politicians.

But all the love and support Smollet received slowly started to dissentegrate as allegations of Smollet lying to authorities surfaced.

Fox News reported that Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson, claimed there is evidence that he may have staged his own crime.

Police took the two alleged “attackers” in for questioning after looking at images from surveillance video of the two walking down a sidewalk at the scene of the crime. The attackers, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo were arrested on Tuesday, February 19.

It is likely that Jussie knew the brothers before the attack due to the fact that one of them worked for “Empire,” according to vox.com.

After a police raid of the Osundairos’ brothers’ home, a black mask and “Empire” scripts was found. He allegedly paid the two brothers to orchestrate the assault on him because his salary on the show was in jeopardy of being cut.

Superintendent Johnson of the Chicago police department stated “They said that he paid them $3,500 with a check... to carry out this incident.”   

Smollett plans to stick behind his original claims despite his arrest. His attorneys Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson released a statement in February saying that Smollett is being “further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that the actor played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

Many celebrities, such as Cardi B, sounded off on the issue. She said that Smollett’s alleged hate crime ruined Black History Month.

Tyler Perry spoke out as well, mentioning the cases of disappearances of Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos that are being overshadowed by Smollett’s alleged hate crime. He was at a loss for words as to why someone would falsify or even orchestrate such a serious issue.

This entire story from the start was one that took the world by storm. So many people expressed words of sympathy and remorse for the alleged hate crime committed against Smollett. It was one of the most devastating stories of the year, especially because Smollett’s alleged attackers were supposedly white Trump supporters.

To hear that this alleged crime may have all been a hoax created outrage and disappointment amongst people in the LGBTQ community, the black community and the political community of Trump supporters.

This now creates a distrust in all claims of hate crimes,  making it harder for actual victims of real hate crimes to share their stories and get justice for it.

Like Perry mentioned, there are many other men like Smollett in the world who can only dream of the support and coverage he has received.

We as a society need to be cautious as to what we react to and who we give a reaction to, because while Smollett’s case is being covered by many news outlets, there are many victims of hate crimes who have yet to receive the justice we swore Smollett deserved.