Nate Jackson / March 11, 2022

Jussie Smollett Gets Mugged by Reality

“You’re not the victim,” said the judge. “You’re just a charlatan pretending to be the victim of a hate crime.”

Before January 29, 2019, relatively few Americans knew the name Jussie Smollett (pronounced, as comedian Dave Chappelle has forever made hilariously famous, “Juicy Smoolyay”). He was a black homosexual actor on a TV series called “Empire.” That’s not exactly the kind of thing watched by the MAGA crowd, yet Smollett became famous because he alleged that he was targeted and attacked by MAGA-hat-wearing racist white guys who called him the “Empire faggot” and told him he was in “MAGA country.” In Chicago. In the middle of the night. In subfreezing January temperatures.

The unlikely story quickly unraveled and we learned that Smollett had actually hired two Nigerians to beat him up so he could gain notoriety as the victim of a “hate crime.” As we’ve said before, the growing cottage industry of hate-crime hoaxes undermines the case that the hoaxers are trying to make. Worse, Smollett expended the resources of the Chicago Police Department, which has far more pressing real crimes to attend to, on his selfish charade.

Smollett was convicted of the hoax last December, and he was sentenced yesterday. It was a bit more than a light slap on the wrist: 30 months felony probation including 150 days in Cook County jail, a fine of $25,000, and restitution of $120,106 — $10,000 short of what the city requested.

We could tell you plenty about how reprehensible Smollett’s actions were, but Judge James Linn was perfectly capable of doing a thorough job of just that:

Let me tell you, Mr. Smollett, I know that there is nothing that I will do here today that can come close the damage you’ve already done to your own life. You’ve turned your life upside down here, [with your] misconduct and shenanigans. You’ve destroyed your life as you knew it. And there’s nothing that any sentencing judge could do to you that can compare to the damage you’ve already caused yourself. …

[You] care deeply about social justice issues, and for you now to sit here convicted of hoaxing hate crimes, racial hate crimes, and homophobic hate crimes, that hypocrisy is just astounding. …

There’s some conjecture, you did it for the money. Frankly, I do not believe that you did it for the money. You were making, the evidence showed, close to $2 million a year when this happened? I don’t think money motivated you at all.

But the only thing I can find is that you really crave the attention, and you wanted to get the attention. And you were so invested in issues of social justice, and you knew that this was a sore spot for everybody in this country. You knew this was a country that was slowly trying to heal past injustices and current injustices and trying to make a better future for each other and it was a hard road. And you took some scabs off some healing wounds and ripped them apart, for one reason: You wanted to make yourself more famous. And for a while, it worked. …

You were actually throwing a national pity party for yourself. …

You’re not the victim of a racist hate crime. You’re not the victim of a homophobic hate crime. You’re just a charlatan pretending to be the victim of a hate crime. Your very name has become an adverb for lying. And I cannot imagine what could be worse than that.

Besides being a narcissist, Smollett is still an actor. So after the sentencing, he gave it a go for an Oscar nomination. “I am not suicidal. I am innocent,” he protested before launching into a ridiculous soliloquy. “If I did this, then it means that I stuck my fist in the fears of black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBTQ community. Your Honor, I respect you and I respect the jury, but I did not do this and I am not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself. And you must all know that.”

Jeffrey Epstein was unavailable for comment.

We do hope Smollett is unable to pay someone in prison to attack him. And, in all seriousness, we hope the fad of such hoaxes soon becomes a thing of the past, along with the obsession with race-baiting division so prevalent on one side of the political aisle.

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