If the story of Jussie Smollett teaches us anything, it’s that fake crime hoaxes can be quite a lucrative endeavor if you know what you’re doing, or if you’re privileged enough. The Empire actor recently evaded justice for allegedly engineering a false hate crime against himself, despite damning evidence of his deception.
While famous figures distanced themselves from Smollett following his multiple-count indictment, he is already working his way back up the ladder to golden-boy status, with mixed success. Now that Chicago’s district attorney’s office has decided to drop the charges and seal the case, some progressives are publicly supporting the entertainer, even nominating him for a prestigious award. On the other hand, there are signs that he has yet to be completely forgiven.
Fake Hate Is Lucrative
Only days after the news broke of Smollett’s improved fortunes, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced that he was nominated for one of their most distinguished acting awards. No, it was not the cherished “O.J. Simpson I Got Away With Murder Award,” but it carries a certain level of clout nonetheless. The NAACP just held the Image Awards ceremony (an event similar to that of the Oscars or Golden Globes); Smollett did not attend, nor win the prize, but the fact that he was even nominated should raise eyebrows.
Actor Anthony Anderson was certainly supportive. In an interview, he told Variety, “I hope he wins. I’m happy for him that the system worked for him in his favor because the system isn’t always fair, especially for people of color.” Actress Lena Waithe added that she believed Smollett’s story, saying “being queer and black is like having a target on your back every time you walk out the door.” In contrast, comedian Chris Rock mocked Smollett on the awards stage. “What the hell was he thinking?” Rock joked. “You’re ‘Jessie’ from now on. You don’t even get the ‘U’ no more. That ‘U’ was respect. You don’t get no respect from me.”
Now, the support Smollett has received might seem quite odd given the compelling evidence that he orchestrated a hoax designed to make it appear as if he were the victim of a hate crime to advance his career. But a quick look at the NAACP’s website reveals that the Image Awards are held to celebrate “the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.”
With this description, it may make sense for Smollett to be nominated for the acting honor.
Does The NAACP Have A Point?
You might be tempted to disagree with Anderson, but take a step back, check your privilege, and consider a different point of view. If you think about it, Smollett’s alleged hate crime was an outstanding piece of performance art; its quality was such that even the authorities were fooled. Note the carefully laid out plan in which two Nigerian brothers purchased rope and red caps at a nearby store. Consider how difficult it must have been to stage the attack in a way that was not picked up by the city’s surveillance cameras.
But Smollett claimed he could see that his attackers had pale skin. His lawyer addressed this fact by saying the Nigerian brothers had a history of performing in “whiteface” which could have been repeated as part of their alleged attack on Smollett. “You know, I was looking up the brothers, and one of the videos that showed up actually was of the brothers in whiteface doing a Joker [Batman villain] monologue with white makeup on him,” She informed a host at NBC News. “So it’s not implausible.”
That’s right, folks. Apparently, one of the attackers was dressed up as the Clown Prince of Crime under black clothes, masks, and a red hat. Who knew the Joker was a deplorable?
So as you can see, dear reader, Smollett could have been more deserving of this award than sensible people might think.
Progressives Run Interference For Smollett
So what’s next? CNN’s Brian Stelter recently indicated that we might “never know” what happened that night. But the proverbial fat lady has not yet sounded her final note.
Chicago’s State Attorney’s office is now under heightened scrutiny due to its handling of the Smollett case. President Trump has also announced that the FBI and the Justice Department would look into the matter. The Bureau is already examining the issue of a letter that was sent to Smollett containing threats and homophobic slurs. If they find that Smollett faked that letter, he could be subject to federal charges.
For now, the actor is walking free and may even benefit from this evident hoax. But he is not out of the woods yet.