Western Courier

Smollett owes the world an apology and we’re waiting

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Samuel Ogali, Courier Staff

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“We’re in MAGA country.” That’s what “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett claimed to have said. Smollett made news a few weeks ago, when he told news sources that two white males assaulted him by putting a noose around his neck, pouring bleach all over him and then proceeding to call him racist & homophobic epithets. Smollett had unfortunately been the victim of a hate-crime. After this alleged attack, various celebrities unanimously voiced their support on behalf of Smollett, and vociferously condemned the hate-crime that he endured; even presidential candidates, like California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris. Smollett was receiving the feedback that he so desperately deserved and at the time of the attack, it wasn’t inconceivable.

According to the F.B.I., hate crimes have increased by 17 percent in 2016 and continue to do so. However, more facts started to arise and as more questions were asked, Smollett’s credibility with the Chicago Police and public itself began to erode. Smollett’s story is one that many people, myself included, rushed to believe without assessing the facts.  Smollett, in our opinions, was a victim without hesitation, but unfortunately, he may be the perpetrator ofa sick and deceitful attack on all of our emotions.

Smollett released his first statement, in which he had expressed his deepest regards to his supporters and wrote, “My body is strong but my soul is stronger.” From there, Smollett would go on to make public appearances and even compare himself to rapper Tupac Shakur, by proclaiming himself as the “gay Tupac.”

With Smollett making appearances and proclamations of being a survivor, things were not adding up, and people certainly starting asking questions of whether he was the victim of an alleged hate-crime.

There were so many questions that raised flags among those who heard about this story. The first was, why would two individuals roam the streets of Chicago in the early hours of the morning with a noose and bleach in 20 below weather? Second was, who would yell, “This is MAGA country?” Last is, why did Smollett leave the noose around his neck and call his manager several minutes before alerting the police?This just didn’t make sense.

Unfortunately, this story officially began to unravel when the suspects were arrested. According to Smollet, the perpetrators of his attack were two masked individuals who he claimed to be white men. However, the suspects arrested were two Nigerian-American brothers named Abel and Ola Osundairo. Once in custody, both brothers confessed to communicating with Smollett, and even revealed that the entire attack was orchestrated and staged by Smollett, essentially claiming it was a hoax.

Once people started to question the legitimacy of Smollett’s alleged hatecrime, he quickly condemned such critics in an interview with “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts. Smollett expressed frustration that people thought he was lying, and believed his criticism of President Donald Trump may have led to such animosity. Smollett’s attempt to maintain the narrative of the story that he was the victim would only backfire as more evidence came out.

On Feb. 20, Smollett was officially treated as a suspect in a criminal investigation by the Chicago Police Department. A story that started out with endless support for Smollett, was now being met with confusion and disappointment if such revelations were found out to be true. In his defense, Smollett did not effectively cooperate with authorities; instead of relinquishing his phone he gave redacted phone records that did little to help the situation, and he did not respond to a request by the police about doing a follow-up interview. Even worse, a hateful letter addressed to Smollett before the attack is now in question and being investigated by the F.B.I. for the possibility of being linked to him.

Unfortunately, everything came crashing down when Smollett was arrested and charged with a class four felony for falsifying a police report. Chicago Police Superintendent, Eddie T. Johnson, said “ Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.” Smollett still maintains his innocence, but as the facts show video of the brothers buying the equipment, to Smollet writing them a check, to even one of the brothers making an appearance on the TV show “Empire,” Smollett obviously knew who they were.

It’s an embarrassment, a shame and a catastrophic event that Smollett caused by allegedly staging this hoax with the facts pointing in such a direction. Hate-crimes are on the rise, but something like this only makes it worse for victims to report and draws skepticism from the public because of stories like this. Smollett owes an apology to: the black community, the LGBT community, the Chicago Police for wasting their time and resources and to supporters of Trump’s for his disgusting setup. Smollett may have just ended his career, and he has only himself to blame.

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Smollett owes the world an apology and we’re waiting