I can’t think of any media story more emblematic of America in 2019 than the Jussie Smollett hoax. It had all the perfect ingredients for a firestorm of outrage. The “victim” in the story was a gay and black actor. The “perpetrators” were two white guys wearing none other than the sinister MAGA hats.
For those who view Trump supporters as racists and homophobes, this made perfect sense. It fit preconceived notions so well that the media and others on the left ran with it well before any facts were known. Who needs facts when the story confirms your worldview?
On January 29, 2019, the Empire star told police that 2 white men in MAGA hats assaulted him as he was walking down the street in the middle of Chicago. He claimed that the men used racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. They also allegedly yelled “this is MAGA country”. Chicago doesn’t strike me as MAGA country, but who am I?
While some people virtue signaled, others wanted to know the facts. Of course, if Jussie Smollett is telling the truth, there needs to be justice. Justice for Juicy!
As we sat back and waited for the facts, more holes began to appear in what was an already outlandish story. With every new development, less of what Smollett alleged made sense. How many devout racists would even know who Smollett is? Empire has a predominantly black audience. What are the odds that 2 guys were out at night looking to do someone harm on one of the coldest nights in recent memory? Smollett even kept the rope around his neck when police met with him. As I said, the details didn’t add up.
The absurdity of the whole situation didn’t stop the social justice warriors from blaming the alleged assault on a supposed rise in white supremacy due to the guy in the White House. The fake news and the absurd think pieces were in abundance.
The evidence led police to discover that there were never two white guys in MAGA hats, but rather two Nigerian brothers who had been extras on Empire and knew Smollett personally. Smollett had actually paid the two brothers to stage the attack. Investigators even found the receipt for the rope which was tied around Smollett’s neck.
In a matter of days, Smollett went from being a sympathetic figure to a meme.
And lest we forget…
I’ve heard several pundits use the following phrase or something like it: this is what happens when the demand for racism exceeds the supply. This sums up this hypersensitive age that we live in. Race hoaxes seem to be just as common, if not more than actual hate crimes. This isn’t about to stop either unless the media does its job better. These types of stories really drive up those clicks. If you’re looking for this to stop, don’t hold your breath.