Jussie Smollett Rehearsed His Own Assault, Prosecutors Say

Feb 21, 2019 · 684 comments
exo (far away)
This guy should run for President. It seems he has what it takes.
Randall (Portland, OR)
Did I believe Smoillett's story when it broke? Of course I did. A Coast Guard redhat was arrested just the other day with the tools and motives to carry out a terror attack on "leftists." A couple years ago, a Trumpist murdered two people on a train here in Portland for defending a Muslim. A Second Amendment supporter gunned down 500+ people in Las Vegas. A white supremacist slaughtered 9 people in a church. Another redhat mowed down a protester in Charleston for speaking out against the right. This kind of violence is typical of conservatives everywhere: Duterte, Putin, MBK, and so on. Why wouldn't I believe it?
Wine Country Dude (Napa Valley)
@Randall And a BLM supporter killed 5 policemen in Dallas.
Dorothy Darling (New York)
You can also include white victims of racist terrorism. The synagogue massacre of the Jewish congregants on the sabbath in Philadelphia by a crazy nationalist. And Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017 by a white extremist. All of society suffers when extremists commit these acts.
Economy Biscuits (Okay Corral, aka America)
@Randall This supposedly happened in Chicago at 2AM on a very cold night. Chicago isn't exactly MAGA country. Add it up and it doesn't add up.
Rev. E. M. Camarena, PhD (Hell's Kitchen)
Many people who took to media to express shock and outrage over this perceived crime on January 30th... now say "nothing to see here, move on" because it all blew up in their faces. You drank the kool-aid, folks, you suffer the consequences. Ignoring this after it didn't turn out to be what your biases wanted it to be... is not an option. YOU, including presidential candidates, stoked the flames and made this a big story. Now live with it. It isn't going away. https://emcphd.wordpress.com
Dee (Los Angeles, CA)
Smollett makes about $75,000 an episode and he was mad about that?! So mad that he staged his own attack? Perhaps his time in jail will humble him to the realities of life for those people who can barely feed their families.
Fatso (NYC)
I feel sorry for Jussie. He needs psychiatric help. And are we sure he set this up? The Nigerian Brothers might be lying. Let's not judge until all the evidence is in.
Paul (Peoria)
is there an enhanced penalty for faking a hate crime the same way there is an enhanced penalty for committing a hate crime?
MrSatyre (USA)
“I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention,” he said, referring to the news media. Wow. The hypocrisy of this statement is beyond belief. I mean, where do I even start???
Steve Beck (Middlebury, VT)
Never heard of him or the show and it proves that I am in a good place by refusing to watch TV! Rich. So, so rich.
Philip Breese (New York, NY)
From what I've been hearing and reading, immediately after Mr. Smollett was release from prison on bail, Empire Enterprises allowed him to come back to the studio and resume his productions! Because of this action, I've decided to not watch this Fox production in the future. It has loss one fan!!!
Alan (New York)
"Those kinds of appeals for public sympathy appeared to particularly irk Superintendent Johnson. 'Absolute justice would be an apology to this city that he smeared,' he said at the news conference." This statement lacks the presumption of innocence required by our justice system.
Kurt (Chicago)
I’m trying to imagine myself pulling such a stunt. The planning and effort and the risk involved. All for a higher salary and some attention. When I get inside this guy’s head, I’m shocked and appalled at the outsized narcissisism, greed, selfishness and stupidity. This guy is beneath contempt.
Purple Spain (Cherry Hill, NJ)
Jussie Smollett has made a mockery of the entire civil rights movement. The sooner this person is forgotten the better.
Coffee Bean (Java)
Just like any other person accused of a crime Mr. Smollett deserves the opportunity to defend himself in a court of law; evidence notwithstanding. Reasonable doubt; its how the system works.
Garry (Eugene, Oregon)
The whole incident has made it clear to me what I should have not forgotten — “wait until all the facts are in” —“innocent until proven guilty.” Are we so polarized that we have become too lazy and too impatient — wanting instant news from the far left to far right— any story — that self righteously reinforces our “tribal” views? Who has time for checking the facts when the primary objective is just to make the other “tribe” look as hypocritical as possible? Who wins this game? Who loses?
Peter Casale (Stroudsburg, PA)
I have never heard of this person before but regardless he should be charged with a hate crime.
Richard (New York)
My conspiracy theory, is that Jussie must be working covertly for the RNC or Trump's 2020 re-election campaign, because what he did (and continues to do, with continued insistence on his innocence) is making Democrats generally, but especially Dem Presidential candidates for the party's 2020 nomination, look simultaneously craven (with their initial rush on January 29 to virtue signal and score easy points vs Trump/supporters), and lacking basic judgment (ie not the kind of people qualified to be President). Even today, only Kamala has halfway walked back her ridiculous 'modern day lynching' tweet. The other (20? 30? more? have lost count) Dem candidates still remain silent after this charade was uncovered, no doubt 'focus grouping' until their campaign consultants tell them what is 'safe' to say without offending countless Dem constituencies. 2020 is going to be a landslide, but not in the direction folks think.
Reginald Pithsman (Rochester)
In light of the problems face right now I don't think this is a story to be featured on the front page. I have no idea who this guy is. As soon as I heard he's on a tv show my brain threw the data in a bin. I turned off my cable tv a dozen years ago. I have no social media. I lead a much richer life than those enslaved to all the digital nonsense that this country is drowning in. Try it folks for a year.
Mac Zon (London UK)
Mr. Smollett helped to prove further lying, cheating and hatred has no racial boundaries.
Michael V. (Florida)
Although we have to wait for all of the facts to come out, what is alleged--if true--is an indication that Smollett as an actor could not distinguish between reality and fiction. To create such a scene, with all of the theatrical props, is the height of a narcissism that suggests that Mr. Smollett needs therapy. The fact that Smollett is apparently continuing to say the attack happened without his involvement in the planning is a sign that he's lost touch with reality. He needs help.
Linda (Chicago)
From conception to cover-up, the perpetrators of this hoax showed an almost baffling lack of awareness of the technological tools available (for better or worse) to investigators.
Miguel (Chicago IL)
Pretty much everyone in Chicago was suspect from the get-go. This happening in crazy cold temps, MAGA assertion (Chicago/Cook Co. perhaps the "bluest" place in U.S.) and time and area of city where supposedly occurred threw up red flags, along with thousands of social posts questioning it. And, despite being a large city, here all city workers are required to live in city limits - for any of the many of us with cops as neighbors, CPD's suspicion and inevitable charges against him were a poorly kept secret.
applegirl57 (The Rust Belt)
@Miguel Agree!
Bill C. (Vernal, UT)
The tale was implausible from the start. The Chicago PD deserves a lot of credit for their outstanding investigation of this charade. Obviously, Jussie Smollett is not very bright to remotely believe that he could get away with such an incredulous story. However, now that the charade up, it is remarkable that he is such a prolific liar that he continues to perpetuate the clearly false story. Here is a guy that threw his younger brother under the bus by using his name during a past DUI arrest. It is a shame that in today's society that there are many that still defend him and hold him in high regards. Mr. Smollett is clearly a man lacking in character that should be held in disdain for creating such a divisive story. If a person is to be judged by their character, Mr. Smollett is severely lacking.
Chris (Paris, France)
This article omits a few important details: that the "assailants" were described by Smollett as white, and wearing red MAGA caps. It was pretty clear in the interviews he gave after the pretend assault that he was playing into the popular narrative of Trump-supporting White Supremacists perpetrating a hate crime against an innocent black gay man. The media lapped up the race-baiting without even thinking twice, glossing over the dubious events themselves, and concentrating on the supposed takeaway: that gays and Blacks were under constant attack in Trump's America. Now, we'll see how long it takes for the media to sweep this disgraceful story under the rug. When the MAGA-hat donning Covington Catholic school kids were accused of attacking Minorities, it made the front pages and editorials of most Left-leaning outlets in America. When a video surfaced showing that not only had the kids not attacked anyone; they had been the victims of racial slurs, taunts, and a particularly obnoxious drummer themselves, that was pretty much the end of it. No apologies to the kids, their school, or the demographic they were made to represent in the media. About the repercussions: Roseanne Barr was canned from her show for making a distasteful remark on Valerie Jarrett. This guy tried to exploit a false narrative demonizing Trump fans as well as Whites in general, lying to the police; lying to rhe media. Let's see if his employers find his offenses as fireable as Roseanne's...
applegirl57 (The Rust Belt)
@Chris Well said.
Hychkok (NY)
He didn't say the attackers wore red MAGA hats. He said the attackers told him "This is MAGA country," a particularly absurd thing for anyone to say in Cook County. The fakery of this "attack" is disturbing & a waste of LEO time in a city plagued with very real problems. But I have to admit to being equally mystified by people repeating the same "red MAGA hat wearing" error. It shows that the persons my repeating it never read the news story & is also engaging in fakery.
Chris (Paris, France)
@Hychkok You're right, I simply repeated what I'd read on a Liberal news site; the story has been changed in the meantime (I just checked). So much for fake news being a trumpian fabrication. But I guess whether they were wearing MAGA hats or ski masks and yelling "this is MAGA country", the end game was the same: to blame the alleged attack on the same demographic..
J Clark (Toledo Ohio)
The story was flawed from the get go. If you didn’t have an eyebrow raised when you first heard you weren’t listening, and you rushed to judgment. BTW all those who jumped on his bandwagon need to apologize not just take down their post and pretend it didn’t happen or whine “ he’s got mental issues”. There is a lesson here and that is in the day of man haters and me too the mob mentality is just that a mob. I believe this is a hate crime and should be tried as such. Here is what my dictionary said ; a crime, typically one involving violence, that is motivated by prejudice on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or other grounds. Isn’t this what he did? Think about it. If nothing comes of this at least we have a new phrase “I smell a Smollett!”
Chris (Paris, France)
@J Clark Al Sharpton pulled a Smollett with Tawana, but it didn't really harm his career.
TWShe Said (USA)
Smollett was stupid--but his case can be useful if others understand "Police Watch" has stipulations. Minorities get the intense treatment. Contrived Hate Crime is rare--otherwise no hoopla whereas a President can get aways with near Felony everyday. It's just not news anymore......
Dheep P' (Midgard)
Gee Jussie, gotta agree - It must be real tough to make a go of it with that paltry salary. Why it must be real rough paying for those "designer treats". You take care now Jussie
Wolfgang (CO)
Imagine… the kaleidoscope of memories this old Airborne Ranger might share with the weary prognosticator; I voted for the President who was cheered by all when declaring ‘Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country’ during his inaugural address. Imagine… in lieu of JFK’s rhetorical clarity and service to this nation, our current day political wunderkinds have morphed into mumbling self-aggrandizing political wastrels pedaling racial hatred while in search of entitlement worshipers. Imagine… politically correct wunderkinds creating a toxic atmosphere with their daily onslaught of lies and rhetorical hatred. Or wondering when these political opportunists might be held accountable for their divisive rhetoric or held accountable for encouraging the contemptuous lies and hoax of the Jussie Smollett’s of this world. Imagine… a legacy gone the way of a despicable hoax, or woebegone wastrels not being swayed by the divisive rhetoric of their cult leaders. Talk about political madness and greed defrauding MLK’s ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character’ vision of America.
ABC (Flushing)
Nice distraction resurrecting Emmett Till as billboard-sized story to avoid avoid discussions of Jussie smollett. One story we were sure would not be resurrected was Towana Brawley.
applegirl57 (The Rust Belt)
@ABC I was thinking the same thing regarding the showcased Emmett Till story. From 60+ years ago. Versus current event of Smollett. Coincidence? I think not.
Eduard C Hanganu (Evansville, IN)
When was the last time someone wrote a check? Years ago? Now all is electronic. But to use a check in order to finance a hoax seems to be beyond reason. Smollett is a sad criminal, and needs to learn the ropes. Some prison time might help.
Mark (Iowa)
People wanted so badly for this to be true. The media, the people who hate Trump so much really believed this was true. Wearing the noose an hour later when the police came to question him was a little strange then not wanting to let them look at your phone raises a red flag. Look at the reason why.. Money. This rich successful actor was already getting paid big money. How does getting attacked by "racists" get you paid more? I assume that more people would have bought his album coming out and then Empire would have sympathy? Its really a shame. I do not see how someone can go forward with a career after this. This is on the same level as those branded in the me too movement.
Chris (Paris, France)
@Mark Roseanne Barr got her show cancelled and her career ended for less than this; I wonder if Smollett will face the same fate? (something tells me Liberal double standards will prevail)
AlNewman (Connecticut)
He has to be fired from his program. Being black and gay shouldn’t inoculate him from the same fate that has befallen those accused of sexual harassment and bigotry.
Tom (Hudson Valley)
Smollett can make some attempt to rectify his terrible misdeed by donating some of his millions to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a well-respected organization which fights hate and teaches tolerance.
Wally Wolf (Texas)
I think Jussie Smollett will now stop complaining about his salary and switch over to complaining about the high bill he will have to pay for the law enforcement resources he squandered over his false claims. Is it true that he's being allowed to return to work on Empire? You’ve got to be kidding me!
JW (New York)
Then again, maybe it's a sincere but false memory. If so, Christine Blasey Ford is a therapist with some experience in this matter -- assuming she was sincere. Perhaps she can help treat him. After all, if everything she said is true about Brett Kavanaugh, which means he lied under oath meriting punishment and impeachment off the Supreme Court, why aren't the Dems still pursuing further deeper investigation now that they control the House? Suddenly crickets? The dog that didn't bark? That's strange.
steve10016 (NY, NY)
What Jussie did was wrong and deserves punishment (if proven guilty). But how is his staging an event to exploit a divisive issue for personal gain any different than what Trump is doing with the wall?
Chris (Paris, France)
@steve10016 The difference is that there actually are illegal aliens sneaking in in one case, but no white Maga hat-wearing assailants in the other. See now?
loco73 (N/A)
Reading through some of the comments, can we please stop saying that Mr. Smollett has mental health issues because of what he has done, or that he is "unstable"?! Mental health has become the go-to defence for any number of appalling crimes and hateful actions these days. Sometimes people have to take responsibility for their choices. A difference should be made between such individuals and those who truly weren't in control of their actions. While everyone rightly points out the damage Mr. Smollett's shameful hoax has done to the gay and black communities, few seem to grasp the detrimental effect on the lives and social standing of those individuals who do live with mental health problems. These individuals are already marginalized and ignored in our society for just being alive. Many of them barely survive day-to-day in appalling conditions. Let's not make their lives even harder...
Charlie (NJ)
The ruse, intended to produce greater income, will instead cost him a small financial fortune and who knows whether it does irreparable harm to his career. A shame really when otherwise good people who seemingly have everything going for them cross a line that takes it all away.
Turgid (Minneapolis)
It makes no sense that Mr. Smollett would stage this to make more money in negotiations with Fox. Perhaps he told that to the brothers to give them a reason that would make sense to them for what they were being asked to do. Or, weirdly, maybe the Chicago police made that up to try and explain what happened. More likely it seems to me is that he was tired of being on the receiving end of hate texts and death threats from trolls and worse, who hide behind anonymity, and he wanted to bring that hate out into the open by staging the attack as a piece of very real theater. That I understand.
Chris (Paris, France)
@Turgid Oh, so he's in fact the victim? Pretty creative justification.
William Case (United States)
I've never watched "Empire," but I was impressed with Jussie Smollett's acting ability, even though he had to improvise as facts began emerging.
Sad story - a very sick thing to do. Mr. Smollett has some mental health issues he needs to be treated for. He's not stable and needs to be institutionalized. I think a restricted mental institution for a few years might be suitable for his rehabilitation.
Amanda Jones (Chicago)
My greatest fear as a parent was one of my children would, before they reach adulthood, make a youthful, but bad decision. You do try to protect them as much as possible, but, when they reach late teens/early 20's you just know that at college or in their early careers there will be those circumstances where a very bad decision could be made---you hope in their upbringing that when those circumstances arise they say no, or leave the situation, or never enter the situation or they call you for your adult perspective.
Liberty Apples (Providence)
Cable news networks Thursday night collectively devoted hours to the reckless behavior of a young actor in Chicago. So far, there has not been a word about the arrest of a military officer who dreamed of slaughtering Americans. I imagine the NRA is pleased.
mike4vfr (weston, fl, I k)
@LibertyApples "not a word about the white supremacist..." ? It was obvious that broadcast & cable news ran that budding terrorist threat as either the lead or second story in their programming. Your inaccurate/dishonest characterization of the coverage will be persuasive only among the crowd that thinks Facebook is in the news business.
Northern Canuck (Edmonton, Canada)
Gee, what gave it away? That he took 40 minutes after the alleged attack to call police? That he still left the noose hanging around his neck? Or that, during an alleged vicious violent assault, he still held onto his Subway sandwich? No smoking guns here...
magicisnotreal (earth)
Seriously bad decision making here. He actually paid the two guys with a check.
BL (Big Midwestern City)
Yes! A personal check!! Clearly he never watched Columbo.
Paul (Peoria)
How is it possible this story leads before the Coast Guard officer with 25 automatic weapons and a hit list.
Wine Country Dude (Napa Valley)
@Paul Have you heard anyone trying to defend the Coastie?
William Case (United States)
To put the U.S. hate crime problem in perspective, in 2017 there were 17,285 murders and 7,175 hate crime incidents. Americans are far more likely to be murder victims than hate crime victims. Of the 6,370 known hate crimes offenders, 50.7 percent were white (including Hispanics), and 21.3 percent were black (including Hispanics). Census data show that whites make up 76.6 percent of the populations while blacks make up 13.4 percent of the population. Blacks were the only racial or ethic group that committed a disproportionately high number of hate crimes. The most common category of hate crimes against person is “intimidation,“ which involves a plausible threat of force but no actual force. It is mostly name-calling. But there are were 10 hate crime murders in 2017, five committed by whites and five committed by blacks. Although blacks make up just 13 percent of the population, they committed 50 percent of hate crime murders. Interracial murders are relatively rare, however, the 2017 FBI Uniform Crime Report (Expanded Homicide Data Table 6) shows that blacks (including Hispanics) murdered 576 whites in 2017 while whites (including Hispanics) murdered 264 blacks. https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2017/resource-pages/hate-crime-summary.pdf https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-6.xls
Chris (Paris, France)
@William Case Hey, no fair! You can't use facts to contradict the narrative!!
Mark (Las Vegas)
It's time for us to get rid of hate crimes. Right after we prosecute Jussie Smollett for one of them.
Len (Pennsylvania)
Wow. If you saw his interview with Robin Roberts he was a compelling figure, especially when he teared up saying "I fought back." What a joke and what a mockery he has made of bona fide victims and survivors. Advocate indeed. Book 'im, Danno.
Bill Seng (Atlanta)
This does disprove the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
SF Atty (San Francisco)
I can only imagine that he, as a black man and openly gay, suffers microagressions many times a day. And probably much more than microagressions, too. I could also imagine a rationalization in his mind that a staged attack is in fact REAL because it performs the summation of his true experience, only now (though faked) in a form the world will stand attention to. That makes me very sad and desire to reach for empathy when evaluating his bad choices. Nonetheless, if we are to value accountability (and I definitely do!), we must support that he be punished for this stunt. He hurt communities in pursuit of it. Worse, he added to the perspective of those who enjoy privilege and can't see what marginalized communities experience yet another "crying wolf" example they can point to, and that is just awful and wrong. And to all the people befuddled by how $65K an episode isn't enough money, just look at Trump, Paris Hilton, or Jeff Bezos. Though I've no idea what it would be like to have Smollet's money let alone those of other celebrities, I can imagine that when a person runs in a higher-earning bracket with peers who make more, one can easily lose site of the financial mountain one is already sitting on.
Wine Country Dude (Napa Valley)
@SF Atty "Microaggressions" and similar concepts helped land us in this soup of victimhood
SF Atty (San Francisco)
@Wine Country Dude They're a real thing. And they're wrong. Do your research. Have you read any literature on it? You might change your mind if you did.
Kai (Oatey)
@SF Atty "Microaggressions"...defined as anything that makes us uncomfortable. Happens all the time. Learning to deal with it is part of growing up and becoming an adult.
Burke (Chicago)
No, Chicago, we did not deserve this. We do, though, need to think long and hard why he thought he could have gotten away with the ruse here.
moonmom (Santa Fe)
So disgusting. I agree with the Police Chief who said his resources and time used by police peronsonel were taken from the real people of Chicago who suffe disproportionate levels of gun violence and need help, resources, and protection. I think this man should be fired from his acting job.
Fato (Pittsburgh)
What a ridiculous set of circumstances. And he continues to lie. This along with the suit from the Michael Jackson family sicken me. Both are not admitting to obvious facts. Smollet lied as is the Jackson estate. He needs professional psychiatric help, the sooner the better. Something is very wrong with him. Also mail with glued letters on them are almost NEVER from criminals but usually fake, have seen that on Forensic Files...how obvious he staged it.
skanda (los angeles)
He certainly gets his publicity over a show I've never heard of until now. He must really hate Trump to destroy his nothing career right now. MAGA
mainesummers (USA)
Readers, please look up Tawana Brawley. Most are too young to remember this national story from the 1980's, before the internet, as a 15 year old girl accused several prominent white men, including police, of rape, when she was found in a trash bag after missing for 5 days. I was in my 20s. It made Al Sharpton a household name along with many others, with marches, protests, and the like, until a year later it was found she ran away from her mom and stepfather. Jussie Smollett's story, while bad, is nothing compared to Tawana's. He needs to come clean.
Margo Channing (NY)
@mainesummers Ah I remember that one well. All over the NY Papers, said it then it was a hoax no one believed me. And Rev Al still hasn't paid the damages in the lawsuit he lost. And he get rewarded with a TV show. Go figure.
Blinker (Vancouver Island)
And now I know who Jussie Smollett is.
Uri (Sydney)
Fast forward to tomorrow: Jussie goes to rehab. Managers say they’re just concerned for his welfare and ask for privacy. The news cycle spins on... 30 days later a weak apology (Ambien? Pain meds?), lays low for a year and makes a comeback at double salary. Yawn.
Maurice Rodriguez (New York, NY)
His actions if proven true will have done more damage to true victims and anti-trump supporters than any other actual racist and homophobe could ever have done. It is truly disappointing in a every sense of the word. He must face the consequences.
David G. (Monroe NY)
Bring back Roseanne!
Ken (MT Vernon, NH)
“On Thursday, some of the celebrities who had initially supported Mr. Smollett began taking down their social media posts from the aftermath of the attack.” Yes, only some. And they will pretend the entire incident never happened. There will be no apologies from these same people. There will be no correction of their erroneous, hate filled invectives. They will just go on pretending that, even though this case is FAKE, surely Conservatives must think the way we declare they do.
Shack (Oswego)
He was upset over his salary? Poor baby. Always a great excuse for committing a felony. Lots and lots of people out there making minimum wage.
raix (seattle)
An interesting point of this whole situation, far beyond the fact that someone was willing to fake and trivialize real violence others have suffered for attention is that before we knew it was fake - no one was surprised or questioned it. No one questioned or found it odd that Trump supporters assaulted a black gay man, committing a hate crime. It wasnt until the police found the co-conspirators and threatened them with hate crimes that questions even came out. If you are a Trump supporter but you also claim "not be sexist, racist, or homophobic" perhaps events like this should open your eyes to what being a Trump supporter means to those of us who never drank the kool aid. To those of us who see Donald Trump for who he really is, Trump supporters are the kind of people who assault non whites, gays, non-Christians and pretty much anyone else who doesnt fit their narrow definition of "acceptable" American. This event proved that more than anything.
NYC Dweller (NYC)
I am a proud TRUMP supporter
damon walton (clarksville, tn)
Was it a full dress rehearsal?
skyfiber (melbourne, australia)
It’s been said before, but is worth repeating...the demand for hate crime exceeds supply, making each claim more valuable to a collusive media. I wish it weren’t so.
Meritocracy Now (Alaska)
Ok, as soon as he gets out of jail/is done with the police he should - change his name to something completely different -change his residence to the best foreign country he's allowed into. -Keep a really low profile I hope to heck someone doesn't attack him for real now that he's done this to himself. I really hate what he did but I wish him the best. He's going to need it.
Marguerite (Michigan)
You've declared him guilty & pontificated on his crimes. Maybe he is guilty and maybe he is not. How about letting the case proceed and withhold judgment until the case decided?
Eduard C Hanganu (Evansville, IN)
@Marguerite But he is guilty as proven in the police records. Not opinion, but FACTS.
Margo Channing (NY)
@Marguerite What Eduard said and he surrendered to the police. He should be made to pay for the man hours it took to investigate this hoax.
Chris (Paris, France)
@Marguerite For him not to be guilty, that would suppose that 2 white Trump supporters actually stole or falsified Nigerian IDs, committed the assault as whites with their MAGA hats on, got caught by the police in blackface, and managed to dupe the police into believing they were the individuals described on the fake Nigerian IDs. Oh, and managed to steal a blank check from Smollett and cash it in their assumed name. Oh, and also stole a phone from someone Smollett knew, and happened to take calls from him before and after the racist assault. Now these would be pretty cunning Trump supporters, and makeup artists deserving of an award.
Sarah Johnson (New York)
I have been watching the latest season of Celebrity Big Brother, on which Ryan Lochte is a castmember. Fan reactions on social media and press reports have been highly positive about Lochte, who, just like Smollett, was also caught lying about being criminally victimized and in turn defamed a large group of people. The masses have all but forgiven Lochte. Will Smollett be afforded the same forgiveness? Will he be forgiven like other Hollywood felons such as Mark Wahlberg? If he isn't, then we must wonder why...
Angie (Still in CT)
What I find particularly awkward - maybe galling is a better word - in light of the Jussie Smollet situation, is that a cable news outlet had Rev. Al Sharpton analyzing the situation. Rev. Al was the megaphone spokesperson for the exact same kind of terrible accusations that were fabricated and that he is now being asked to righteously comment on. I'm old enough to remember TA-WA-NA being screamed by Rev. Sharpton and his "day of rage" at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Has anyone asked him about "the facts" he so quickly supported in that case? Rev. Al: Selective Amnesia??
ERA (New Jersey)
When millions of Americans become accustomed to getting most of their news from unreliable sources without questioning the bias in the reporting, it's no surprise that someone like Smollett would carry out this crime knowing that his story wouldn't be questioned by the very same media outlets.
Jeanne M (NYC)
I am angry with this young man’s duplicity. I believed him because I had seen him interviewed and THOUGHT he was a modest, thoughtful young person. I was wrong. He’s a seriously troubled con artist. Shame on me for buying his act.
Chris (Paris, France)
@Jeanne M Don't be too hard on yourself: he benefited from a large web of accomplices called the mainstream media.
Northpamet (Sarasota, FL)
This is such a sad, sad story from every angle.
Katisha Dart (Across The Tracks, Southeast USA)
What a well considered plan to increase his salary, eh! I suspect his salary will indeed be changing significantly very soon. Greedy, greedy, greedy. Greed comes in all identities. You can’t judge greed by its color!
Name Unknown (New York)
Yes, hate crimes are on the rise, but not always as one suspects. Here is actual video of a hate crime that occurred this past Tuesday at UC Berkeley as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. The twist -- a conservative recruiter being assaulted and punched. Where is the outrage? If the assaulter had instead been conservative, it would have been national news that same day. https://www.sfchronicle.com/crime/article/UC-Berkeley-conservative-student-hit-Police-13635364.php Unfortunately, no-name victims will never get the attention (and outpouring of initial support) that Mr. Smollett received. He has set likely back the impact of every legitimate victim of hate crime, not just to gays or blacks.
Spike (Philadelphia PA)
Smollett's apparently false claim sent the police out after two black men. The consequences could have been dire, as they have too often turned out to be in the past.
Chris (Paris, France)
@Spike You haven't been paying attention: Smollett said he was attacked by 2 red hat-wearing whites. The consequences could have been dire as well, but as those punched at Trump rallies by antifa have evidenced, hate crimes don't matter in that direction. The police's own investigation is what led them to the Nigerians.
Hooey (Woods Hole)
He did nothing wrong. Smollet is entitled to his truth like all other progressive leftists.
Patricia (Pasadena)
I can imagine Cookie finding out Jamal did this on the show. Looks like he couldn't stop being a performer after work though. Shame on him.
Sequel (Boston)
Smollett has illustrated the folly of creating a new class of law called "hate crimes."
Philip (Montreal)
Still the fact is this man has not been proven guilty yet here we all are casting rocks.
Mr. Slater (Brooklyn, NY)
@Philip There's indisputable 'evidence' that proves he did it.
Jonathan (Northwest)
Good to see Jussie is making sure President Trump has a second term. MAGA and then Keep America Great. Priceless.
Donald (NJ)
I would like to know the immigration status of the 2 Nigerians. Nobody is talking about that. Quite possible they are cooperating with CPD/FBI in order to remain in the USA.
Raindrop (US)
I believe these men were born here and therefore are citizens.
Iris (CA)
He paid $100 for a rope and a MAGA hat? His budgeting skills are terrible. Perhaps, that is why he requires an annual salary greater than $500,000? Poor guy. It must be hard to be 36 and only earning $500,000+ annually.
AACNY (New York)
Now his lawyers are claiming he is a "victim" of the law.
sheikyerbouti (California)
$100K/ episode. Gee, poor guy. Wonder how much 'work' he actually has to do to get that episode filmed. My $100 says, not much. Most Americans don't make $100K/yr. If this guy is guilty of this, he should be ashamed of himself, then he should do some time. Then he can cry about his salary.
Sam (Boston)
Textbook definition of the proverbial bad apple that ruins it for everyone else. He is clearing what appears to be at least half a million dollars a year for his appearance on that show, but has no sense of gratitude at the least. Does he realize the harm he has cast on other LGBT folk who are violently discriminated against and yet have no recourse via the police?
Anon (Midwest)
I'm sorry, he makes $65,000-100,00 PER EPISODE and he is disappointed in his salary. I wish I could be disappointed in a payday like that. The arrogance.
Wolfgang Price (Vienna)
Where does one search for the answer to Stargazer 66 question:"Given what average Americans are dealing with at work, why would anyone in such a golden place in life destroy it all for want of more?" What besets this stage of human development in the industrial world is: "What is enough?" "What is a good life?" The goal is said to be that successive generations must "enjoy" ever better lives than past generations. Our cudoos are for millionaires. And our blessing is for ever more so. Virtually every news account of an individual at some point in the story notes the status of the individual's income. Contract reports on professional sports figures cite there multi-million $$$. When record keeping on millionaires became to jaded we started record keeping on billionaires. With every mention of Bezos there is the mention of his billions. The economics profession had no little hand in this phenomenon. The constant reference to GDP/capita has one assessing one's status. The means to a "better" future is "growth" i.e., "more". And the education profession as well has had no little hand in it. Attend a University and chances are your check will be larger. Education is a pass to more. The advertising industry also has had no little hand in it. Once dubbed a celebrity in the media, the ad industry signs one up for multi-million contracts selling sports shoes...or whatever. Smollet is a pathetic character. More pathetic is that "opportunity" has come to mean $$$.
Tony (Truro, MA.)
Television star makes a decision to advance his "career"and his paycheck. He decides to also advance, prey upon, the Nations obsession with equality.Sounds a a lot like Bill Cosby's reference to himself as a modern day Emmett Til or Nelson Mandela. It ends up as making mockery of the very real victims out there. Sad.
Vascdoc (NJ)
This is a situation where someone perpetuated a fake story line at the expense of Trump supporters. He got caught. How many times in other situations has the hoax gone undiscovered.
Interested Party (NYS)
If what his prosecutors say is true I think Mr. Smollett would be kind of like the Donald Trump of the entertainment world...if what Trumps prosecutors say is true...
Neil (Los Angeles)
Trevor Noah summed it up courageously. Look it up. I agree.
Mr Chang Shih An (CALIFORNIA)
Smollet should be charged for everything that he did. Each time he lied to the police is a charge, scratching himself is destruction of evidence as there was no attack where he got those injuries. His mail crime could get him ten years. It's time to put an end to people wanting to make hoax crimes and then them getting off lightly.
“Race” has become the new bogeyman to create a sense of dread in non “Race” people. A “Race” which has milked & continues to milk “Race” for its own benefits without any discernible output of benefit to the larger nation so unbeholden to this “Race” “Race” being the sole qualification. Now comes the epistle of the forthcoming “Race” drama as enacted so very imperfectly by an clumsy “Empire” actor & caught so perfectly by the Chicago Police. On behalf of sanity, I send salutations to Chicago Police. Great Work,Chicago Police. & now for the Mueller Report.
Eric (San Francisco)
Like others have noted, as a gay man I had never heard of this guy before this incident. After it happened I remember thinking "if I had never heard of this out actor, how did 2 men recognize him on the dark, late and cold streets of Chicago?" Well, I guess it's part of what I guess is his inflated sense of himself in this world that he'd think we, the public, would actually recognize him on the street and actually pay enough attention to want to hurt him. Anyway, he needs a lot of help.
Vietnam Veteran (Nashville, Tennessee)
In all of this coverage of a hate crime hoax, while also acknowledging the rise of hate crimes in America, it should be noted that this incident is part of that rise, not apart from it. It was just as hateful for him to cast aspersions on Trump supporters as it has always been for someone to report that a crime was committed by an African American, when that was not the truth. Is it possible to come to a different conclusion? He hates Trump supporters. That may not be a crime, but it's still feels like hate to those of us who support The President.
Alyce (Pacific Northwest)
Why aren't the brothers being charged with participating in the production of the false report, and of selling drugs? (The article says one brother sold drugs to Smollett.) They may not be guilty of a hate crime, but they are hardly victims.
BEB (Switzerland)
Such a selfish young man. If guilty- he should go to jail.
Katherine Porter (Seattle, WA)
Its sad that someone who was making his way in his chosen career did not have enough faith in himself to keep on going. Now he has likely ruined his career chances.
A (Queens)
What a great actor.
Jay (NYC)
Question, how does he still have a job? and how are people still asking if he did it? What more do you need? I long for the day when we judge someone by their actions and take everything else out, celebrity, gender, color, etc. This act was unacceptable. No Empire for me.
Ralph H L (LA)
In a bizarre way, this event proves somewhat beneficial. The nonsense stated, at the beginning of the Me Too movement, that all victims should be believed, has now been put to rest with this reveal. Common sense tells us that any category of people - whether gender, age, race, etc. based - contains individuals capable of lying for various reasons, including unethical self-interested ones. Mr. Smollett's very public display of this fact, helps restore our society to a common sense notion of not only 'innocent until proven guilty' but 'possibly guilty despite gender, age, sexuality or other category-based defenses'.For this, Mr. Smollett has done us all a favor, despite the great harms his fake scenarios simultaneously created.
ERT (New York)
Studies have shown that, at most, ten percent of reported allegations of sexual assault are false. Or, to put it simply, nine out of ten times, the accuser is telling the truth. Don’t claim that Mr. Smollett’s actions should cast doubt on all accusers: most are not lying.
Chris (Paris, France)
@ERT Studies? Depending on who produces the studies, any biased inference can be made. And the fact that you try to make a point with a logical fallacy is telling: "ten percent of reported allegations of sexual assault are false" only implies that 10% were proven false, not that the other 90% were proven accurate. "Nine out of ten times, the accuser is telling the truth" is untrue; nine out of ten times, the accuser wasn't caught lying, which is not the same, especially given the "he said/she said" nature of most of these claims, and the shifting definition of "sexual assault". If the culture at large accepts that drunken sex regretted after the fact is rape (Occidental college case), or that consensual sex followed by flirtatious texts from the "victim" followed by a desire for revenge is rape (mattress girl), then we must acknowledge that what constitutes "sexual assault" in the aforementioned studies is likely to be mislabelled following the same misleading definitions, and thus be largely exaggerated and/or downright false.
Jeff (Chicago, IL)
How many actual hate crimes in this country with non-celebrity victims who are seriously injured or even killed, are mostly or entirely ignored by the media? The hate crime hoax perpetrated by Mr. Smollett was reprehensible but the obsessive media coverage of this story is the real crime. The relationship between the Chicago Police and the African American community is strained and tense already. Of course the laser focus of the national media coverage would necessitate any police department to devout considerable resources to this case to the detriment of victims of actual crimes. Mr. Smollett has a lot of explaining to do. He owes an apology to the black and LGBT communities of Chicago and real victims of hate crimes everywhere. Additionally, he owes an apology to the city of Chicago which is trying to shake a reputation of gang gun violence exacerbated by Trump's derisive comments and the Chicago Police Department which is trying to repair very tenuous race relations. It would appear that Mr. Smollett's acting career has come to an abrupt end with the revelation of his criminal hoax, allegedly intended to increase his value as an actor.
jsheb (Scottsdale, AZ)
Me was t happy with more than $65,000 to $100,000 an episode with 18 episodes a year? My math tells me that more than $1.1 Million a year. Well, I hope the damage he’s done to actual victims was worth it for him.
Ockham9 (Norman, OK)
I had never heard of Mr. Smollett before this incident. In fact I’d never heard of the program in which he stars. But I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone could think he could augment his salary by getting beaten up. Can anyone enlighten me?
GH (Austin Tx)
I hope he’s innocent , but if he is convicted I pray that he gets treated with compassion. It’s upsetting to hear the so many condemning him without a trial . He will never get one now.
Wine Country Dude (Napa Valley)
@GH Why would he not get a trial, if he refuses to plead, notwithstanding all the comments?
MyThreeCents (San Francisco)
Well, who do you think IS responsible? "I do feel sorry for him, because eventually he is not responsible for this act." He continues to insist it happened, and maybe it did. Let the process play out. But if it turns out he did lie, I can't think of anyone else I'd hold responsible.
Chris (Paris, France)
@MyThreeCents The Patriarchy, Jim Crow, and probably Trump
Wine Country Dude (Napa Valley)
Kamala's new tack is that attention to the narrative is what's essential, not the details of any trifling individual case. This is astounding, but her refrain will be picked up by other Dems. Think of it: use initially apparent facts to support the narrative; discard the facts when they no longer support it; and then continue to argue the narrative. This is lunacy. I have a lot of reservations about Trump, but will find it impossible to vote for any of the current crop of Dems. Trump's chances in 2020 improve every day.
GH (Austin Tx)
I believe him why I don’t know . I never knew about him until this happened . Hope he gets it straightened out and keeps his job . He is young and personable. I liked him right away from seeing and hearing him .
Jake (The Hinterlands)
Mr. Smollett continues to claim his innocence. He is not doubling down; he is tripling down. He would be better off telling his attorneys to say nothing on his behalf. And yes, I understand Mr. Smollett's right to due process and presumption of innocence.
Robert (Out West)
This just in: in America, he is innocent until the trial is concluded.
Chris (Paris, France)
@Robert Where were your principles when Kavanaugh was being unconvincingly accused?
Shelly (Atlanta)
It's time for Smollett to come clean and stop pretending he was attacked. He seems to have talked himself into an alternate reality where he really was attacked, and he seems to believe in his own fantasy, but now he needs to come down to earth and confront what he did, and apologize to everyone. He has done a terrible disservice to real victims of real crimes.
Zobar (West Coast)
@Shelly isn't it amazing that despite the fact that Smollet expressed hatred for Trump and probably dosen't agree with him on anything, they're so much alike in the ways that you described.
Reasoned44 (28717)
If I were his employer, with evidence that is available, I would immediately pay him for episodes completed and suspend him without pay until a resolution is at hand.
Brian (Vermont)
I agree he needs to face a stiff penalty but prison? How many people make false allegations against others, costing defendants financially and personally, the prosecutors office, police and taxpayers, often reaching trial, if not prison only to find out it was all fabricated with no charges pressed on the accuser? Brian Banks for instance - yes, she was ordered to repay 1.5 million & 1.1 million in fees - likely that will never happen. I remind everyone about Brock Turner who actually did assault a woman and served 3 months with 3 yrs probation.
A story that gets sadder and weirder by the minute. Why does a seemingly successful artist conjure up something like this assuming what has been alleged? Why is all this so important to the rest of us that it deserves headline coverage? As much as this is about Mr. Smollett, it is also about us and our insatiable appetite for human frailty in full display.
Jim Reho (Chicago, Illinois)
@JJ Frailty implies that some temptation existed that caused a bad act. This was not about frailty. This was about lying. And if you don't understand that, keep watching the news and watching him and/or his attorneys lie on his behalf until he inevitably pleads guilty.
Name Unknown (New York)
"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." -Warren Buffett That quote should be on the entrance of every school and university in America. Maybe the halls of Congress, too.
Bob (PA)
I have heard a number of the same people who immediately claimed that this incident was one more piece of proof of the current war on minorities by the current dominant American white culture. Many appeared to lack any basic skepticism about the numerous problems with the story, defending it and Smollett right up to his indictment, even among some reporters who should know better. Perhaps it is not so terrible that this incident may serve to cast some suspicion on some of the more infamous racial accusations. Maybe people will start to see that "hate crimes" claims that tend to give credence to a specific political outlook rather than seeing them for what they likely are (random acts by young men acting out or twisted individuals acting out revenge fantasies) we might do better to combat them. Instead, we presume that stories like Smollett's seem credible despite (or maybe because) of such recent claims of a white man in a MAGA hat shooting a black child, inaccurate claims about Central Park "wilding", improper prosecutions of kids because they were white and played Lacrosse, all the way back to church burnings in the rural south imagined to having been done as a campaign by white racists.
jay (msp)
I'm so disappointed that this article appears higher up in the front page than the white nationalist Coast Guard lieutenant who was caught prior to going on a spree of domestic terror. What matters more? This Smollett story is just fodder for the culture wars. The domestic terror story shows us the terrible effect that those culture wars can have.
Lisa R (Tacoma)
@jay The story about the initial hate crime, Ralph Northam's 4 decade old blackface incident, and an incident at the Lincoln Memorial where MAGA hatted Catholic teens were accused of mocking a Native American elder- all 3 of these also got billing over far more important and disturbing stories. Where were the complaints then?
J. G. Smith (Ft Collins, CO)
Obviously, this was not a well thought-out scenario. I think Smollett thought this would not be investigated deeply...I think he thought his word would be accepted, it would make headlines, but the police would not be so aggressive in solving it. His behavior and his judgement shows what a narcissistic person he is. Of course, in the beginning when media people like Don Lemon and Robin Roberts sympathized with him, he probably got a feeling of confidence. But fortunately the Chicago police are not influenced by those superficial people. I hope he goes to prison. What he did was terrible in many respects.
Kai (Oatey)
Smollet seems to have learned (growing up?) that playing the victim card and fomenting racial discord brings popularity, acceptance and financial-social reward. I would not be surprised if the faux attack is just the final step in a long series of provocations that had all turned well for him. Until now. People who ignored and/or condoned Smollet's behavior -including his family - are thus partly responsible for his downfall.
Bill bartelt (Chicago)
Possible three years in prison. If the guy just showed up for work for three years, he would have banked 3 1/2 million dollars.
MPH1960 (NYC)
If it’s true that Mr. Smollett faked the attack and filed a false police report, then he did a very stupid thing — but for reasons that I suspect most likely were more complicated than the simple motives being suggested by police and commentators here and elsewhere. Lesbian, gay and trans people and people of color in this country are under constant attack and marginalized. Let’s give this confused young man a break and focus on more important issues—like actual racist and homophobic attacks that get little or no press coverage.
mike4vfr (weston, fl, I k)
@MPH1960 Over the last 3 weeks, Mr. Smollett's lies are the big reason other hate crimes have not received appropriate attention. Note the irony!
Biggy02 (NC)
His ruse worked well. Overwhelming media coverage did the trick. I'm old and have never heard of Empire or this guy before. Now I am all too familiar with his name. I agree with the Chief. If only gun control problems could get as much attention. But I guess nothing associated with that has anything to do with "celebrity", which is what our society seems to be fascinated with.
Jorge (USA)
@Biggy02 Smollett's ruse cuts us many ways, and deeply. It damages the credibility of all true "hate crime" victims of racism and homophobia, however rare. Worse, it libels all "white" Americans -- and all Trump supporters -- as racist homophobes, whose evil nature cannot be redeemed by education, forgiveness and love. More and more, we are seeing this more insidious, culturally sanctioned and media-hyped kind of hate crime, that of perpetuating a vicious stereotype of irredeemable white racism. This is tearing apart, and it is time for good people of all races to start looking to the character of each of us as individuals, not as racial or gender stereotypes.
Joey (TX)
@Biggy02 most gun violence is during a drug crime. Why would Americans give up constitutionally protected firearms to enable guilt free, illegal narcotic consumption by liberals?
Haapi (New York)
@Joey "enable guilt free, illegal narcotic consumption by liberals?" This knee jerk and puerile framing of drug use as a "liberal" action is precisely the attitude that is driving this country apart. PS: The definition of liberal: "Willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas."
Paulie (Earth)
This little man is a fool. Kiss your career goodbye and thanks for fueling all the racists. Stupid, stupid little man.
Daphne (East Coast)
He used this tactic because he knew it would get him a lot of sympathetic attention. Not sure how that would have translated into higher pay, but I don't think he had the best foresight. It's another symptom of the me generation.
Robert Streeter (Southampton, NJ)
Like many people, I have been following the case of Jussie Smollett with interest. I have felt a lot of different feelings about this case, ranging from sympathy to anger to outrage to disbelief. I guess the many twists and turns this case has taken has resulted in my range of reactions. As a black man I related to the victimization which was an early, obvious theme in this case. As the case unfolded I began edging toward outrage and amusement. Outrage because the lies were becoming more apparent as the investigation unfolded, and amusement at the utter childishness of Mr. Smollett's clumsy attempt to bully Fox into paying him what he "thought" he was worth. Presently, I pity Mr. Smollett because I now look at him as a person who destroyed a promising career for selfish, immature reasons. If this case against him holds up, who will hire him, regardless of his talent? Whatever happened to patience, hard work, and trying to improve your craft? Apparently these values mean nothing in Mr. Smollett's world. I hope truth prevails here, whatever it may be, and I hope aspiring youngsters who idolize entertainers do everything they can not to emulate the values Mr. Smollett has displayed up to now. And I hope adults realize that Mr. Smollet does not represent anyone but himself, and he alone is responsible for his choices, good or bad.
Sarah Johnson (New York)
I've noticed that skepticism of the media and presumption of innocence are only talking points when white males are implicated in alleged crimes. Many of the same folks preaching here about the importance of skepticism will click away to another article and readily believe anything the media or government alleges about the Chinese or some other overseas "other."
Bill (Des Moines)
@Sarah Johnson Well I think the skepticism expressed here was ell deserved. I didn't notice the media cutting Mr. Kavanaugh any slack but Mr. Fairfax in VA is getting the kid glove treatment.
Kenneth Brady (Staten Island)
Compare Mr. Smollett to Colin Kaepernick. Mr. Smollett manufactures a crisis; Mr. Kaepernick protests one. Mr. Smollett hopes to gain personally from the controversy; Mr. Kaepernick hopes to educate others from the controversy. Mr. Smollet's actions require careful, choreographed actions to avoid detection of motive; Mr. Kaepernick's action is simple and spontaneous and welcoming to observation of motive. Who do you trust? Which would you boycott?
xyz (nyc)
what's the base of this comparison? two biracial Black-White men?
mike4vfr (weston, fl, I k)
While not the focus of the discussion right now, Smollett's biggest legal problem will probably come as the result of the phony "terrorist-style" letter sent to the Empire set, using the US Postal Service. The letter with the white powder inside. Obviously a Federal crime, it can be prosecuted as a terrorist act. Unlikely anyone in the Trump/Barr Justice Department will be inclined to cut him a break of any kind. Federal prosecution doesn't offer many opportunities for leniency to begin with. There is no parole in the Federal system, and Smollett has a history of previous prosecutions (DUI, providing false identity, etc.) Way to go, Jussie!
Bill (Des Moines)
@mike4vfr My sentiments entirely. The Feds love these mail based crimes since once they can prove them the accused has little of no leverage in the process.
Mary (NJ)
His story never rang true to me which is why I never commented or weighed in on any conversations. I do just want to say that I think he is a disturbed individual and I hope he gets the help that he needs.
one Nation under Law (USA)
Mr. Smollett effectively admitted in his interview with Robin Roberts that he hates Trump. If it’s true that Mr. Smollett staged the Chicago attack, then Mr. Smollett committed a hate crime against Trump and his supporters.
JMM (Dallas)
A hate crime against Trump's supporters? Really?
Will Eigo (Plano Tx!)
Lady Justice is blindfolded while she holds the scales. Let’s afford Smollett one side, the Chicago Police the other. On his side - his story told by him, corroborated by none. His facial bruising presented by him. On the side of the detectives - the so-called witnesses which are actually at the very least, according to investigators, unwitting accomplices. These persons are seen on tape, there is phone logs and other digital and video information. There is the two brothers’ version of events, of a conspired plan carried out. There is a $3500 check paid by the purported victim to the supposed assailants. There may be more that exonerates or inculpates Mr Smollett. As for now, the scale is working against him. No rush, he is going nowhere now in physical, financial or career terms I am afraid.
Bill (Des Moines)
@Will Eigo Jussie is toast as they say. The personal check, the receipts for the rope, the cab and Uber receipts at the exact time of the attack, the numerous phone calls between the parties. I think the two alleged Trump supporting Nigerians are more more reliable than Jussie's. The Nigerians have nothing but facts to back up their claims. Jussie has his word which probably isn't too valuable at this point. Of all the evidence the check will doom him...
William (Chicago)
I have been struggling to come up with a word that describes the nature of this guy’ transgression and I believe it is best described as Greed. An insatiable longing for material gain - in this case being money, fame and power. The power of victim hood. As is the case will all of the seven deadly sins, of which Greed is one; dire consequences always result. Jussie Smollett is a greedy man and he will now face the consequences.
Robert Bunch (Houston)
I am an old gay man who has tried to live an honorable life and never put my lifestyle in anyone's face. I am so sorry for what Mr. Smollett has done. His foolishness reflects badly on gay people and black people at a time when favorable light needs to be shined. Fox is all over this tonight. He is providing the much needed "over there" at a time when America needs to be focused on the problems we face with the current administration.
DZ (Banned from NYT)
@Robert Bunch It reflects badly upon no one but Mr. Smollett, the media, and those who lack critical thinking skills. If this doesn’t put an end to the destructive nastiness of identity politics, then it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Let’s become individuals again!
Jake (New York)
His actions did not change my opinion of any group of people. Treat people as individuals.
revav (Chicago)
Seemingly true, Smollett was wrong, wrong, wrong and has not only hurt himself, but has tarnished the integrity of a movement that has struggled to lift the voices of the oppressed. The media (NYT included) has responded in such a way that serves to erode away at that integrity by their incessant coverage whilst putting the news of domestic terrorism and humanitarian crisis on the back page or at the end of their programs (if at all).
Rose J (Chicago)
What he did was despicable, if true. I keep wondering what personality disorder he has to think of this scheme in the first place and believe he could get away with it. Or perhaps he knew he wouldn’t get away with it?
Ellen (Chicago)
I certainly can understand while African Americans and the LGBTQ community are upset with Mr. Smollett. But he doesn't make them look bad. He only makes himself look bad. I'm a Chicagoan who watches the local evening news every day. What angers me is that the Chicago Police Department had to spend so much time working on this case while there are neighborhoods in Chicago that are struggling with gang violence. Mr. Smollett may end up in jail for what he did but will he ever repay the taxpayers and the police department for what he cost us?
Amy (Brooklyn)
@Ellen I'm not sure about "looking bad" but it certainly makes anyone less likely to trust somebody who is claiming discrimination based on being LGBTQ
Alyce (Pacific Northwest)
@Ellen Had to? If the police chose to spend their time investigating an assault which seems to have caused little injury, instead of investigating gun violence and murders-- that was the police's own choice. The question is, why did they choose to allocate their resources this way? That is the problem.
Dave Oedel (Macon, Georgia)
@Ellen At Mr. Smollett's supposedly-underpaid rate of $65,000 per episode, and at the rate of 18 episodes per year, that adds up to more than a million a year. Mr. Smollett should pay for his hate. Of course, Mr. Smollett does not reflect whole "communities." But he does reflect a general problem, which is faux victimhood. Anyone who accepted his tales at face value, then defended him, and then doesn't retract such automatic acceptance and defense, is affirmatively choosing to be in Mr. Smollett's community of devious dividers. Where are Senator Harris, Senator Booker, and Reverand Sharpton? Before they were quick to jump on this. Now they say, wait and see. Double standard. Harris and Booker are done as presidential candidates now, because people can see how they would lead. That is, not well.
Adele (CT)
The idea that he was trying to earn more money really was just introduced to this sorry tale and yet we are all already accepting that. How do we know he wasn't trying to cause a larger soul searching by the rest of us? That has happened before. My own hunch is that's what this was and he completely lost perspective. I think victimization has become currency, especially if you have celeb culture or social media supporting you. The whole nexus between people offering their every thought and "using their platform" is becoming nauseating. It beginning to feel like a Pavlov's bell experiment. Such and such happens, we are all supposed to respond in a certain way, etc.
mike4vfr (weston, fl, I k)
We know his intentions because he used a lengthy series of lies to create his story. And has told a lengthy series of lies ever since. Thinking people understand you cannot support a higher purpose depending entirely on dishonesty.
Bill (Des Moines)
@Adele He was aiming at a higher purpose. A raise from $100K to some greater amount. Probably his taxes are too high and he needs more money.
Tom (Home)
@Adele The police learned Smollett's motivations because he told the Nigerian brothers why he wanted to hire them to fake an assault. The cops had two solid days to interrogate the brothers. And it sounds like they learned absolutely everything, because at the end of the two days the brothers were no longer suspects but cooperating witnesses.
M. Winchester (United States)
The lack of humility, the irrational sense of entitlement, the need to blame of others for one's own circumstance--this act, this young man, serves as a microcosm of what is wrong with our world today.
KI (Asia)
A punch by a professional boxer is regarded as a weapon and the prison term can be prolonged. This case is exactly the same; a phony performance by a professional actor.
old sarge (Arizona)
What a refreshing yet disturbing story. It was horrible when it looked like some Trump supporters were behind the attack. Now it is doubly horrible the think that Smollett himself staged the attack and wrote the letter for what is now reported as being unhappy with his salary. How sick is that. The Police Superintendent pretty much covered the disgust he felt regarding the piling on by media and politicians to give coverage of this incident before all the facts were known and yet totally ignore all the families of gun violence in Chicago. He hammered the press and the likes of Maxine Waters and her dogwhistle mantra without mentioning her by name. All of the because the "witnesses" said the attackers had red hat and said this is MAGA country. And the haters of Trump took it from there. Whatever happened to responsible reporting?
Bev (Australia)
What happens to the real victims of hate crimes will they be too frightened to even report them after this case. A young well paid man with a job that would be the envy of many other people puts together a silly stunt that was so obvious from the moment he reported it and carries on the charade getting the publicity and sympathy he wants. He planned and paid two other men to take part in his publicity stunt that demeans the real victims of such crimes. Sad sad day.
SteveRR (CA)
I was watching this being dissected on MSNBC and they brought in the good 'rev' to offer his insights. It was the height of irony that no one bothered to mention his role in an earlier and particularly egregious example of this very same thing with Tawana Brawley. This is not as rare as the grievance professionals would have us believe.
Elle Roque (San Francisco)
He should say that he was creating street theater, and that this was all a very elaborate form of performance art.
Mark Hawkins (Oakland, CA)
As a fan of both Empire and Mr. Smollett, it has been particularly disheartening to see this case play out. Of course people err'd on the side of believing him (even with the outlandish aspects of his story) because he represented something rare - an out gay black male celebrity. Those of us who believed him are especially demoralized by what apparently really happened, and I doubt anyone would argue that he shouldn't be fully held accountable for his actions. He grossly abused his place of privilege, leveraged our political differences to abet his selfish goals, and then ground salt in our collective wounds with his repeated and loud insistence that he would never lie about such a thing. All that being said, it certainly strikes me as sad that this country can't go through any sort of challenge without it being turned into a liberals v. conservative framework. This really has nothing to do with political leanings - we were duped by someone famous, and that has happened just as much to conservatives as to liberals. Would anyone, right or left, disagree with that? No political persuasion has a lock on legal or moral righteousness; conservatives and liberals can behave in repugnant (and legally dubious) ways. Humans are flawed, make mistakes, let their egos get the most of them. Mr. Smollett is human.
KK (Greenwich, CT)
Let a group try to take away our right to demonize each other and you’ll see us come together powerfully to defend it!
Rick Anderson (Brooklyn)
Poor planning. Definitely not True Detective material.
WPLMMT (New York City)
Did Jussie Smollett really think he would get away with this ruse? He was not too bright to cook up such a story knowing the police would investigate every detail of this case. This was not very good acting and his career is about to come to a halt. If he is found guilty, he will be wearing pinstripes and behind bars. Or at least he should be for all the pain and expense he has caused the city of Chicago. He is an embarrassment to say the least.
Fintan (CA)
What a sad and depressing commentary on a culture that values notoriety above all else.
Me (NC)
If we didn't live in a society in which attacks such as that staged by Mr. Smollett were possible, no one would've believed it. Let's take our eyes off of him and get them back on the real problem: the rise of white supremacy and the slow petroleum-fueled suicide of the human race.
tony (mount vernon, wa)
this is a very serious crime, indicating total disregard for fellow citizen's safety and law enforcement resources.
J'adoube (Alameda, CA)
He was dissatisfied with his salary? 65k to 100k per episode?
Harold J. (NE Ohio)
It's too bad that this young man, who earned more in a single episode than many Americans earn in a year, felt he was being taken advantage of by his employers. I wish I was being treated as badly. I hope they throw the book at this spoiled brat.
EJ McCarthy (Greenfield, MA)
Actors aren't known for being particularly intelligent, just talented at their craft. Unfortunately this guy is neither intelligent or talented. ...obviously.
DER (New York)
I think Jussie Smollett needs to lose his job. If Megyn Kelly was completely demonized for an ignorant (but not criminal) statement then I think we have to lob an equal punishment for FAR WORSE behavior. I bet it won't happen and we all know why.
cbre (ponte vedra beach, florida)
Seriously? This makes international news? Like a 2 year old this man prefers negative attention to no attention at all. Yet here are the major newspaper giving him even more airtime. He committed a felony, is going to jail for it and will hopefully now really know what getting attention means. End of story. We don't need every possible source of news covering this nonsense. Who cares! I had never heard of him before and hope I never do again.
Abara (New York)
I do feel sorry for him, because eventually he is not responsible for this act. Yes he needs to be held responsible in front of a court, but in terms of moral theory he might be not. Eventually he only is a product of his experiences and his interactions with society. Now we have to ask which society did he grow up in. What society must it be which eventually leads to him making such a stupid decision. And it is the same society which produces mass shootings, voter fraud or white supremacist. People are neutral when they are born, they are neither good or bad, but society makes them what they are, and if it creates people who make such irreversible decisions then we have to ask how they can get to this position. Who or What brought them there? That’s the question we need to ask.
mike4vfr (weston, fl, I k)
If a 36 year old man, from a position of wealth & privilege, can be pronounced not responsible for a elaborate pre-planned criminal act, there is no longer any responsibility left anywhere, for anybody.
michele (syracuse)
Who or what brought him there? His own choices did.
Bill (Des Moines)
@Abara Probably one of the funnier posts. I guess Trump is also responsible for the 500 murders in Chicago where 80% of the victims and shooters are black. The fact that it has been going on for 15 years is apparently irrelevant.
When you're a criminal with no smarts at least watch detective movies. Don't pay by check and use a burner phone.
Sean (Ft Lee. N.J.)
Smollet's dream team council defense strategy: justifying their clients "raising awareness" guerrilla theatre thespian performance.
Opinioned! (NYC)
We are in the age of fraud & fakery. - Theranos - Fyre - Dan Mallory - Smollet The common theme is the thirst for money or fame or both without having to sweat for it.
ManhattanWilliam (New York, NY)
What he did was despicable! To use his race and sexual orientation in an attempt to stir the public’s emotions, only to learn that he DEFILED both makes me sick. As a gay man I am repulsed by this action and since he himself claimed to be an “advocate”, he should be made an example of and suffer the full weight of the law for this crime against decency!
Akk56 (USA)
Since we live very very close to the location in downtown Chicago where JS claimed to have been beaten/assaulted, the story never added up to me from the beginning. Yes, this is Chicago. Anything theoretically can happen. But, this is also as far removed from any "MAGA country" as it could be. Furthermore, the night of the assault was one of the coldest nights in Chicago this winter. Who would be out at 2 am in the middle of a frigid night with all the gear he claimed the assailants had (e.g., red hats, ski masks, bleach, rope for noose, etc.) with them to conveniently run into him and beat him up without seriously injuring him? This was crime 101 for the detectives and it did not take long for them to get to the bottom of it. I hope he gets mental health treatment since no sane person would orchestrate this. Unfortunately, his concoction had adverse effects on some many levels for which he will need to pay and repent.
Chris McClure (Springfield)
Let’s not dwell on this too long (know we won’t in this news cycle). It was one man doing a very stupid thing, and he should be punished. But I don’t think this does any real damage to civil rights causes.
Biggy02 (NC)
@al This doesn't help civil rights causes. By the way, My wife and I are in our twilight years with two outstanding middle aged daughters with husbands and three children each. We all graduated the college of our choice and we never felt discriminated against by the higher ed system. Two of our grandchildren who are in college have not been subject to it either. Sorry you must have been.
Steve Jones (New York)
@Chris McClure So when Smollett's case seemed to confirm the worst stereotypes about Americans and Trump supporters in particular, it was important to reflect on that and use it as an example of the out-of-control hate in American society, but now that it's almost certainly a hoax, we shouldn't "dwell on this too long"? Amazing.
Greg (Boston)
Oh it will be. An attempt to shame, and cast blame, based on race.
Phil M (New Jersey)
My pay sucks worse than his, but I don't hire people to beat me up and stage racist scenarios. This man is in desperate need of therapy.
Andree (Pinehurst NC)
An aspect of this personal tragedy that won’t get much attention is the role of the media. It has become more the rule than the exception for the media run amok with crime stories. Not just a report of the facts but building a full blown story. This is very dangerous, opening the public to the false melodrama of the Smollett situation. More dangerous is the impact on our justice system. Crime should be tried in the courts with all the care and protections, not in the media in an effort to get ratings.
JAC (Los Angeles)
Smollett is accused of filing a false police report and mail fraud. The real crime, if there could be one, is the way the liberal print, internet and social media bought this hook, line and sinker. TV network talk shows, cable news, even Democratic candidates for president. All because they tried but failed in connecting this outrageous act to Donald Trump. If this is the only way the left wants to get back the presidency, then lets just give Trump his second term now. Disgusting....
Ed L. (Syracuse)
@JAC "The real crime, if there could be one..." If?
Greg (Boston)
Wait wait wait..initial to this story were reactions of shock, including from Trump. It made news on ALL outlets. Many were, at this point, duped. The coverage is not to blame here. And the reaction to his alleged crime is the same— shock (not so much, here) and duped. An incredibly offensive use of racial imagery to promote your career is the gist. Liberal press jumping on this story at the beginning is no story at all. It was everywhere on every media outlet. Now, let’s see what Fox News does with this, just as you started here. Almost everyone was duped. Choose your battles about liberal bias, ‘cause this ain’t it.
John David James (Canada)
@JAC No, its not the only way the left wants to get back the presidency. Smollett actually provides a perfect entry point for a real discussion about how massive dishonesty is such a destructive force in America today. Look what dishonesty does. It is ugly. It is divisive. It is destructive. Smollet is actually the perfect introduction to a real conversation about dishonesty and lies and their destructive effects. 8000 and counting. But go ahead and demonize Smollett.
Tara (MI)
He does neatly disprove Darwinian Theory, doesn't he. No wait, it's about random selection-- he proves it.
JH (Florida)
There are enough problems in this world that need attention and the misuse of claims of racism, sexual orientation, and the President are uncalled for. I am no fan of the President to begin with, but I have to agree that this little stunt gives the President a Soapbox to stand on to cry out his little “Fake News” storyline. We can not allow for anyone to make up stories about other people to advance their personal gain or beliefs no matter who the person you are trying to make look bad is. The President is doing just fine sinking his own hole, but pulling a stunt like this in an attempt to tarnish his supporters is not the way to go and doing the same to victims of racial and sexual orientation matters is equally as awful. We live in a Country that allows us to disagree with each other, but instilling hate because of a persons beliefs is unconsciable. All this was done for noteriety and GREED! A very talented person just sealed his fate. He will never see the limelight again. This was not even thought out right. The two guys he paid to pull this stunt are the same race as him? He paid them with a Check? He did not assist the Police in the investigation by turning over his phone? It all seemed odd from the get go, at least to me, but of course, you must always wait for everything to surface so that you do not pass false judgement. In this day and age there will not be a person on this earth that will take a chance on him again. CAREER OVER!
Stargazer66 (North Carolina)
How many of us would give anything to be an actor on a huge, hit TV show, to have launched a lucrative singing career from said show, and to be a young, good-looking celebrity, to boot? The world was Mr. Smollett's oyster. He had the tiger by the tail! Mr. Smollett's career was on a rapidly rising trajectory. He wasn't satisfied with his salary? He could have re-negotiated at contract renewal, or have just been patient, knowing his next gig would pay more. Given what average Americans are dealing with at work, why would anyone in such a golden place in life destroy it all for want of more?
Robert (Seattle)
@Stargazer66 This is an important story, deserving of Page One coverage by one of the best newspapers in the world. This is an important story, deserving of Page One coverage by one of the best newspapers in the world. This is an important story, ...
joe (campbell, ca)
@Stargazer66 Many people are so insular they don't appreciate what they have. In fact his behavior could have been written by the Empire screenwriters. How ironic that he evidently did this for the sake of fame and a year from now, no one will remember him.
With all due respect, this is a lame excuse for egregious behavior. There’s no excuse for political stunts like this, nor for abusing an already under appreciated police department that had 13 detectives and fbi investigators working a sham case. This is not a stage play, this is real life, and our tax dollars aren’t paying for this entertainment.
Sara (Oakland)
Disgruntled employee ? Didn't like his salary? What a pathetic petulant man... It wasn't even a misguided effort to draw attention to any cause...just his own appalling stunt for himself. It takes all kinds, even those with a sweet tenor.
maria5553 (nyc)
@Sara this is only the police theory and as you notice, it's not a logical one.
Expected Value (New York)
Celebrities benefit from what I consider a flaw in capitalism: the tremendous returns from having a one-of-a-kind personal brand. The return is not because they are the most talented singers or actors (or scientists...still love you NDT). It is because they own an irreplaceable brand. This is why any entitlement on the part of these celebrities is sickening to me. The salaries and power they wield already far outstrips what they merit from their work. Making that kind of money is a privilege. It is a quirk in a capitalism system that so often tends to concentrate wealth in rather illogical ways. This man should have this privilege stripped of him and learn to live on the average wage that his work merits. Unfortunately it seems likely that after a relatively short prison sentence he will be in the position to profit from his notoriety.
Peter Dowling (New York)
I’d like to use this opportunity to point out the wisdom in withholding judgement when proof is not evident. It is viscerally very appealing when confronted by atrocities to immediately rush to judgment. Identifying the “bad” feels good in the moment. It is certainly more satisfying than saying “well let’s wait and see if that victim really was a victim”. Can we please use this as an example of NOT immediately condemning people or groups who have had serious charges leveled against them? In this case, that goes equally for the Trump supporters broadly who were broadly smeared by the potentially false allegation of a hate crime committed in their name, as well as for the person accused of making the false allegations. How about we just all wait and find out what the truth is for once? And while we’re at it, maybe we should consider electing people to represent us who also have the wisdom and discipline to withhold judgement, be open in their thinking, and deliberative in making decisions (an excellent example of this being President Obama).
Anne (Portland)
@Peter Dowling: The vast majority of reported crimes are just that: actual crimes. It's not odd that people tend to believe an initial report of an assault as likely being true. Staging them may happens but it''s not common. When you here someone was in an car accident do you think: Were they *really* in an accident? Did they stage it? Only pretend to be in a car accident? No, you don't. You tend to believe things that seem reasonable and true. Especially when we know car accidents (and hate crimes) often do occur and usually are 'real.' The value in this story is showing how easily false claims fall apart.
Bill (Des Moines)
@Peter Dowling President Obama or Trump have nothing to do with this. His story is a total lie - read the indictment in the Chicago Tribune- and you will probably not be withholding judgement for too long. Jussie is Toast.
cheryl (yorktown)
@Peter Dowling As to electing better. more logical leaders not so prone to exaggeration or leaping to conclusions: those types are almost never elected. The votes go the the loud and those that evince emotional reactions.
Alexandra (Paris, France)
If indeed it is proven in court that Smollett made this story up, noose and all, then I hope he will serve time in prison. All this because he was unhappy with his salary? What??? Did it ever occur to him how damaging his actions are to people who are the victims of real hate crimes, racism and homophobia and who now may not be believed? I share the Chicago Police Superintendent's anger. But Smollett got his publicity - better bad publicity than none at all - and seems totally indifferent to the harm he's done.
Carling (OH)
Most famous actors are talented... and not as smart as they think they are. They should not go anywhere near politics.
Adele (CT)
I'm really hoping a bit of a pause can be added when a sensational story comes out in the 24/7 for-profit news cycle. And I hope celebs can find a way to keep their sanctimonious traps shut. Can we find a way to monetize that for them?
Lawrence Siegel (Palm Springs, CA)
So who did a better job of career self destruction, Jessie or Liam Neeson? I gotta go with Liam as he trashed a much more valuable franchise. He's up against a career financial lightweight who's facing jail time. Tough call.
Mike S (CT)
@Lawrence Siegel, how much tax payer money, police & investigative resources did Liam Neeson squander with his transgression? You can't be serious comparing these two events, right?
Lawrence Siegel (Palm Springs, CA)
Good points, but, irrelevant to where I was going. I was comparing their respective career suicides.....for which squandering public resources would have little impact. So, yes I am comparing their self inflicted wounds, and the consequences of their own unprovoked actions are remarkably [email protected] S
Dave Oedel (Macon, Georgia)
Why no mention of targeting Trump and his supporters until the twelfth paragraph? Mr. Smollett is alleged to have targeted them on both occasions, in the fake hate mail and in the staged hate attack. This reporting is deflective of what Mr. Smollett was doing. He was making $65,000 an episode, and was not exactly looking to up the minimum wage to $15 per hour. This was a hate crime. Why no mention of that dimension? Where was Mayor Emmanuel? Something is not right.
Bill (Des Moines)
@Dave Oedel Mayor Emmanuel famously said that Chick FiL A did not represent Chicago values. The line was around the block when it opened. Rahm has about zero credibility in Chicago. He just wants to leave and become a Private Equity partner or Investment Banker and rake in the cash all the while decrying inequality.
michele (syracuse)
He did not target them, he used them. That is a very different thing.
Ed L. (Syracuse)
It's like Smollett not only staged a hate crime against America but against the whole universe and beyond. Thoughts and prayers go out to the victims. We must begin the healing process so this never, ever happens again, Amen.
Publius (NYC)
@Ed L.: Thoughts and prayers to the victims? Who are the victims besides society as a whole?
cagy (Palm Springs, CA)
I have only one question to this outrageous concocted event. Why? What was the point, not just because he had everything most people professionally aspire for wealth and fame, which were not diminished by the fact that he was black or gay. So I ask, (and not a black man- but I don't think it's relevant to my question)- in our society today, where we see outrageous acts of homophobia and racism against black men and women, why would you fake an attack? It can't be to bring attention to the problem, when the problem is out there all the time for us in the public to confront? Every day there are social media posts- Facebook instagram, youtube- of crazy real racist people attacking verbally or physically people of color or because of their gender or sexual orientation. Did he think that because he is a celebrity, that if not uncovered, his 'attack' would bring more attention or greater awareness to solutions? I do imagine that if the children of extreme right members of congress or the NRA were amongst the victims in the next mass shooting, that, that might inspire some to change their opinions- but that would be from a real tragedy- not a staged one. Smollet has ruined his career, his reputation, and with a boy who cried wolf analogy- likely damaged the credibility of future real victims of hate crimes, based on anything- race, color, sexual orientation, religion. He has done a great disservice to society.
Bob Newman (New York, N.Y.)
A Trump dream come true; throw the book at him.
areader (us)
The positive thing is it reveals that you have to invent such crimes trying to show how bad racism in our country is.
one percenter (ct)
@areader if you have to invent a crime to show how bad it is then it really is not that bad.
WMA (New York)
we should step away from attention craving celebrity culture which makes anything that’s happens to a “celebrity” newsworthy. I and lots of other people on black social media sites were skeptical of Smollett’s claim from the beginning. It made no sense! MAGA hat wearing people don’t watch Empire. The alleged attack was overkill. It had everything but the burning cross in it. In the meantime and 25 yr old man who was sleeping in his car was shot 25 times by the Vallejo police department. More than likely these cops will get off with not even a slap on the wrist. This is the real face of racism.
Sheeba (Brooklyn)
Sorry but two Nigerians using MAGA comments or attire sounded implausible from the get go, in freezing temps as well. As an African American I am appalled at the resources wasted while horrific crimes against LGBT, minorities, and any innocent, occurs daily. He needs help.
WindyLass (Chicago)
@Sheeba and others: just as a point of information (which does not contradict the point you make) the two brothers, Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, were born and raised in Chicago, of Nigerian immigrant parents, as they emphasized in a statement through their lawyer the other day. They are American citizens.
Dave Oedel (Macon, Georgia)
@Sheeba It was not just the staged attack that included MAGA references, indicating an attack on Trump-supporters. Mr. Smollett's letter to himself the week before also referenced Trump supporters. Mr. Smollett needs help, but he should get it in prison for conducting devious, sequential hate crimes.
al (boston)
@Sheeba " As an African American I am appalled at the resources wasted while horrific crimes against LGBT, minorities, and any innocent..." As an African American, Sheeba, what makes you set apart LGBT and minorities as special categories from "any innocent?" Any reason? Apart from the implicit racism of your statement that is.
Passion for Peaches (Left Coast)
This is about as low as you can go. He deserves to have the book thrown at him. I hope he does serious time for this, but given the politics of our jury system I fear he may not.
Joe M.
One of these days, people are going to figure out that it really is best to wait until the facts are in before you leap to a conclusion. Oh, who am I kidding? That's never going to happen. Basically, whatever "news" breaks across the Internet these days is just an excuse to haul out your preconceived notions about race, gender, immigration, taxes, crime, climate, or whatever. You already know what you think about all of these things, so you already know what you think when you see a headline about those topics. At some point, we're going to have to find some way to talk to one another that doesn't include automatically assuming the worst about people we don't agree with. Oh, who am I kidding?
Tintin (Midwest)
There is another angle to this story that has yet to be considered, but Mr. Smollett may have an unusual case of Munchausen syndrome. This unusual behavioral condition typically involves people, not simply feigning illness in order to gain attention, but actually creating illness through such tactics as injecting themselves with toxins, or subjecting themselves to physical injuries. People engage in such bizarre and dangerous behavior because they are desperate for, and somewhat emotionally addicted to, a certain kind of attention from healthcare professionals. In Mr. Smollett's case, it seems he had a similar desperation for attention, not from healthcare professionals in his case, but from the public as well as others in the entertainment industry. And it was not attention for an illness he sought, but for a politically charged form of victimization that would make him a martyr. The possibility that this case represents a certain version of Munchausen Syndrome is interesting, because it suggests the type of attention some people with such a condition may now yearn most for is driven by a need to be politically oppressed in a very melodramatic way, while the nature of true systemic political oppression faced by People of Color and the LGBTQ community, communities to which Mr. Smollett belongs, is obviously real, but is not operatic enough to satisfy them.
Cyclist (San Jose, Calif.)
@Tintin — That's an excellent point. I remember Claude Charron's case. Only 35 years old, Charron was a cabinet member in the Quebec government when he committed a bizarre act of shoplifting and was quickly and easily caught outside the store. The theory was that, unable to handle such a lofty and high-pressure job, he committed what he himself would later describe as "political suicide." Perhaps Mr. Smollett's legal counsel should have him psychiatrically evaluated for any indication of such a syndrome. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Charron https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/public-figures-nabbed-for-shoplifting
Gino G (Palm Desert, CA)
I went back and read the original NY Times article about the incident when it first occurred. The article reported what Smollett said and to that extent was accurate. He did say what he said. I then went on to read the comments that were sent in at the time. To my surprise, some comments actually did question Mr. Smollett's statements and expressed some skepticism. What alarms me is the number of comments which expressed outrage at anyone who would question Mr. Smollett's version of the event.. Some even went so far as to accuse anyone of racism who dared to raise a question. There have been times in history when people were subject to vicious retribution just for questioning the prevailing belief system. The Spanish Inquisition comes to mind. Is this where we are headed- where anyone who questions a fashionable belief is persecuted for daring to challenge the orthodoxy ? I fear that our conscious willingness-even desire-to rush to judgment and condemn dissenters portends a very disturbing trend in this country.
Passion for Peaches (Left Coast)
@Gino G, Smollett was doubly hands-off when this staged “assault” hit the news (with a splash). A black, gay man “attacked” by MAGA-hat wearing haters? All doubters must bite their lips or risk those accusations. The story seemed off from the beginning, if only because the script was overwritten. A noose too far. And the stage was in the wrong neighborhood. I don’t mean to come across as flip, but this is all so amateur. One of the common slip-ups for immature writers (and habitual liars) is adding too many incredible details to a story. Smollett made that mistake. This stinks no matter what the man’s race or sexual orientation. Faking a crime for financial gain and to amp up your reputation is reprehensible.
Neildsmith (Kansas City)
It's time to put Mr. Smollett on ignore. No more coverage of this person is required.
Ann (NYC)
I really believed him and this is heartbreaking. And if the charges are true - I 'm angry. I hope there is some consequence - short of jail - for Jussie. I also hope he gets some mental health care.
Aaron VanAlstine (DuPont, WA)
He’s not mentally ill. His motivating factor was straight-up greed.
Bill (Des Moines)
@Ann Well I won't question your sanity for believing him but he cost the city probably $50-100K to investigate a fake crime. In the meantime real crimes for un investigated.
dairyfarmersdaughter (Washinton)
The entire episode just seemed too trite to me when it was first reported. I have to be honest and say I had no idea who Jussie Smollett was - had never heard of him (I rarely watch TV). Everything was so caricatured - but I was waiting to see what was found out in the investigation. I frankly wasn't overly surprised that the entire thing appears to have been faked. Mr. Smollett is either troubled, or he is a narcissist. We will have to wait for the legal proceedings to play out before final judgment can be rendered. At any rate, it also seemed like this case received more than it's fair share of attention from the Chicago PD - do they assign 12 officers to the cases of violence that afflict minorities in this community daily? I somehow doubt it. If Mr. Smollett is proven guilty of faking this event, he should be required at a minimum to reimburse the taxpayers for the costs associated with the investigation, and should probably receive at least a few days in jail to contemplate the damage done to those who truly have been victims.
Lisa (NYC)
I'm not surprised some celebrity decided to take advantage of the existing social climate of fear and outrage to take their career to the next level with some fake story. Neither will I be all that surprised if there is another real attack anytime soon. There's a climate of legitimate fear and outrage in this country right now. Stuff like this is one of the results.
Joseph (Colorado)
Jussie Smollett: So woke.
Marcus (Sydney, Australia)
Clearly wrong and unjust. Mr Smollett should now reflect on how he can seriously contribute to victims of crime in Chicago, and also seek therapy to help understand and heal his own mental health issues.
Joanna (Cambridge)
He was right to argue about his salary. It is clearly way too high.
Seth (Germany)
This has shown a lack of objectivity from the left. The tone has gone from soothing to almost apologetic on the behalf of Jussie Smollett. which begs the question, if the leftists really care about the true. I would say that they are more interested in promoting a certain narrative. And this might get Trump elected in 2020.
Wallyman6 (NJ)
Dear Jussie What you are hearing now is the nails-on-chalkboard scrape of an irony that won't let itself be ignored. Upset over salary? Man, you're probably out a job now; too much bad publicity and other things that mean the next victim of an assault has a credibility hurdle to jump. That's sad.
Theo (New York)
I don’t want to hear the words ’racism’ or ‘oppression’ for a long time. The Left needs to focus on infrastructure and finding technological solutions to climate change.
Jim O’DONNELL (Miami)
Hey when’s Infrastructure Week anyway? it’s early this year, isn’t it ?
Jim (PA)
And what would have happened if the police arrested a suspect? Would Smollett have identified him as the “attacker”? How far was Smollett willing to take this and was he prepared to destroy someone’s life?
Save the Planet (NJ)
If this is all true as now being reported... Smollet has committed a terrible disservice to people of color and to the gay community. Not to mention wasted resources and taxpayer dollars. Smollet should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and made to reimburse the great City of Chicago because he ABSOLUTELY knew better than to act this way. His 5 minutes of extra fame are over. Let's move the news cycle forward to real news.
PubliusMaximus (Piscataway, NJ)
I've been upset about my salary for 13 years. Never occurred to me that I could stage a hate crime to fix that. I guess I'm not that bright.
Nick Braden (Louisville)
Why the high bond? Are they protecting the public from another fake attack?
Mike S (CT)
@Nick Braden, are you serious? Maybe the DA is sending a message to the effect of "you don't get to commit social sabotage and get to walk around as a free person". Appologists gonna appologize.
From Where I Sit (Gotham)
Bond is based on likelihood of appearing at the next court date. By law, it isn’t supposed to be punitive. But it also takes into account past behaviors like Smalettes bogus ID during a past arrest.
Michael George (Brazil)
This despicable and dirty play for publicity at all cost is a reminder of the Tawana Brawley incident in 1987, in which a teenage African-American girl claimed to have been abducted and raped by three white men, including the local assistant district attorney. The ensuing outrage at such a horrible and violent purported crime was stoked by the Reverend Al Sharpton with polished cynicism well beyond the time Ms. Brawley’s claims were discovered to be lies, and should have put an end to his career as champion for racial justice, but perversely enhanced it instead. Crying wolf, in this case by actor Jussie Smollett, who sought a career boost by playing the victim and stirring up a double-whammy of racial and gay politics, is so inexcusably repulsive that one hopes it is the absolute end of his otherwise run-of-the-mill career.
ST (Sydney)
Somehow deep in my heart I know this is Trump's fault. Definitely!
Michael George (Brazil)
@ST Yes, and so is a rainy day when you forget your umbrella.
Marc (New Jersey)
I hope they throw him in jail and they kick him off the TV show. Roseanne got fired for so much less. The next time a real attack takes place everyone is just going to assume they are making it up, potentially hurting real victims.
Gdnrbob (LI, NY)
After living through the Civil Right Era and the Gay Rights Era, I see that the generations following it have no idea of what we had to go through for equality. Sorry Jussie, you just set every Black and Gay person back a decade. But, I can understand you actions when I see what people accept from our current President.
EPMD (Dartmouth, MA)
It is sad, indeed, that people place such value on fame and fortune that they stoop to irresponsible acts like Mr. Smollett. Mr Smollett's tale stretches all credulity in the light of day. Who randomly waits for someone at 2am or stalks some one at 2am to attack them for being black , gay and ostensibly successful? I'm from Chicago and the only reason they would wait for you at 2am-- is to rob or kill you, neither of which happened to Mr Smollett.There are real cases of racial and religion related attacks that will be questioned because liars like Smollett. Mr. Smollett needs psychiatric help more than criminal prosecution.
Evan Egal (New York, NY)
C list actor commits class B felony.
Is the publicity stunt going as you had planned? Not looking good from most individuals perspective. You’ll be unemployed for some time I suspect.
Susan Murphy (Hollywood California)
What a shameful absence of gratitude.
Crybaby (Pittsburgh)
Police Superintendent Johnson is my new hero. He could not have conducted this press conference with more grace, wisdom, and honesty.
From Where I Sit (Gotham)
He should have approached this investigation from an impartial point of view and managed it as a professional, without commentary or emotion.
Khaganadh Sommu (Saint Louis MO)
No report indicates what the guy’s current salary is and how much he might be expecting with this sloppy stunt.
It was reported to be $100k per episode/18 episode season...Was.
Barry Borella (New Hampshire)
This sounded phony from the start. If a real hate crime had taken place he would have been in the emergency room. He suffers from insecurities and delusions. Unfortunately, they have cost the public time and money. It was painful to sit through the nightly news coverage of this. He is a “consummate professional”no longer. Not even a consummate jokester.
Flo (OR)
Smollett's been in front of the camera too long. Every aspect of this faked crime is suspect as fiction. The hour, the temperature, the MAGA and the race and gay reference, the rope (that he didn't immediately remove?), the bleach. It's like he thought of every single element of a hate crime and put it in one script, one scene and then went for it. It also makes no sense that an attack with all these elements just happened to happen to him who happens to be out buying a Subway sandwich, at that hour in freezing temperatures. It was obvious right there it was staged. I'm not surprised by these developments and I hope he is jailed and heavily fined. He should be removed from Empire. Using a rope is the worst offensive thing about this whole faked scenario. He even got Kamala Harris to jump to conclusions and that affects her potential to be president because it shows how she made a statement without fact. Now, all I think is how would she respond to more dire circumstances without first knowing all the facts and details.
Judy (NYC)
I'm black and I didn't believe a word out of his mouth from the get-go. His story simply didn't make sense. He has done incalculable damage to black and gay victims of racism and homophobia, and he deserves everything he gets. Color me disgusted.
Steve (Los Angeles)
I suspected as such. It must be difficult for the authorities to deal with these out of control personalities like Kardashians, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, etc., when they start throwing drinks in a restaurant, throwing temper tantrums in public, etc. It wouldn't surprise me to find Jussie Smollett working with Trump just to "fool" journalists so that right wing media like Fox could rant and rave on TV about liberals and their misplaced values.
Tuco (Surfside, FL)
I must say Trump has a point about the media.
Mark (South Philly)
Jussie is still an emotional child who made a bad decision. Let's give him a break. The real outrage should be reserved for McCabe for staging a soft coup as revenge for his fired boss. Now that's outrageous!
Mike Z (Albany)
I feel sorry for all involved, but Mr. Smollet’s cynical use of real and open racial wounds, in a fake incident, as a pretext to satisfy his petty, shallow and selfish concerns are just pathetic. He needs help and is a symbol of the vapidity of the entertainment culture and the emptiness of his empire.
New World (NYC)
The federal crime of inciting a riot carries a possible penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine.
robert zakin (DC)
If true, the real problem here is giving doubters ammunition to knock down hate crime numbers. And the media is treating this like the Kennedy assassination. Notice Trump has been silent on the USCG officer's plot to kill Democrats and journalists.
Sarah (NYC)
Hello lies, betrayal and federal prison; good-bye career.
Yvette (NYC, NY)
The harm this man has done is despicable. I hope he serves time. I hope he loses his job too. All this because he wanted more money?
Koyote (Pennsyltucky)
When I first heard this story I thought it was likely false. Who is walking around Chicago in the middle of a very cold night, carrying bleach and a rope? And why would a “victim“ show up at an acquaintance’s home with that rope still around his neck? If someone put a rope around my neck, the first thing I would do is remove it. I’m sure plenty of other people were skeptical, too. But, in our current environment, expressing skepticism would have been met with cries of “racism.“ And so we all get suckered.
nzierler (New Hartford NY)
Does MSNBC think we all have amnesia? On the Kaysie Hunt 3:00 show she brought on Al Sharpton to weigh in on this Jussie Smollett fiasco. The same Al Sharpton who led the charge of racial bias over the attack on Tiwana Brawley that proved false. We don't need Sharpton pontificating, nor do we need former DA Kamala Harris and Cory Booker looking like fools by rushing to judgment with their lynching references. Their stupidity renders them too damaged to continue as viable presidential candidates.
Wally Wolf (Texas)
Jussie Smollett is a disgrace and he has done more damage to the Civil Right Movement in one day than Fox News and Trump can do in a month, Now he's going to know what it really feels like to be an outcast.
charles c. (Astoria)
His attempt of staging a crime is the most inept since Tonya Harding hired two thugs to kneecap Nancy Kerrigan and take her out of the figure skating competition. Right from the start the details of his story was very suspect and anyone who fully believed it at the time it happened was very gullible. Now that's alright for regular people, but when you have a Presidential candidate like Kamala Harris, a one time prosecutor, going all in with total belief, one has to doubt whether she's the right person to be nominated as the Democratic candidate next year. Also can't help but wonder during her time as DA if she railroaded or attempted to railroad more than a few criminal defendants. Might be something the Times might want to set their investigative reporters on.
Surviving (Atlanta)
I know that I should be searching my heart to understand how a famous person would still feel that he needs a huge amount of attention and sympathy, even though on the surface, he seems to have achieved a lot more than we the simple public ever could. I get the feeling that fame feels very hollow, and for some, it is never enough, and that Jussie has an empty part in his soul and spirit, that needs more, more, and more. All the trappings of fame are fleeting, and when those seem to be disappearing, there's panic. I do feel pity for him, but I'm very angry that he lied to everyone, that he ensnared the two brothers in his criminal plot, and that we fell for it. I have much more pity for the next person who is a true victim as we'll all be looking at him or her with a very jaundiced it.
lucky (alabama)
I think he committed a hate crime against Trump supporters. If he had been successful who knows what could have happened.
Claudia U. (A Quiet Place)
I'm a bit uncomfortable with how many people rail against assumptions and generalizations and yet place Mr. Smollett in a tidy box labeled "selfish", "shameful", "disgraceful", "appalling", "despicable" and add that he "deserves a lifetime of blame and censure." It would certainly appear he's been found guilty in the court of public opinion and that his motives have already been determined to be simple and uncomplicated. I'm guessing not. These things, in my experience, are far messier than we would prefer. I hope we follow the rule of law. And then I hope we don't continue our American inclination toward punitiveness and never let a fellow human being work towards redemption.
Michal (United States)
As another commenter observed, it is very concerning that more than a few Democrat presidential hopefuls jumped on this fraudulent assault story in support of the ‘victim’ prior to the police investigation. Makes me wonder what other politically-motivated kneejerk reactions they could potentially engage in if they actually won.
Jim (PA)
@Michal - Ask Al Franken.
Flo (OR)
@Michal Especially Kamala Harris in my opinion. Her statement about the rope was inflammatory. I just happened to have felt suspect of his story from early on so her statement felt very premature and self-serving. I just don't see why people immediately believed it given all the details of the "perfect" crime to demonstrate race and gay hate. First, how did these convenient things happen to this very person a week after receiving a hate letter with the same elements at 2 AM in freezing temperatures? Right from the start, the story was fishy.
KL (Brooklyn)
If what Jussie Smollett is accused of doing is in fact true, there needs to be a reckoning. There needs to be an acknowledgement of the impact of his actions in the context of the real victims of violence and hate crimes (the impacts of which are far, far worse than the fake-news fantasies of this very small man). There needs to be compensation and recompense for the resources wasted, particularly those of law enforcement in Chicago, whose time is much more valuable than this alleged felon would have deserved. And there needs to be appropriate punishment, including incarceration, after which Mr. Smollett may well have some truly horrifying stories to tell.
marklee (nyc)
Can some other reader help me? If Smollett's wounds were superficial self-inflicted lacerations, what did he need accomplices for? Why not choose a location away from all cameras and witnesses for the setting of the fabricated attack and depend on his powers of fiction writing? What am I missing?
@marklee It was set at night at 2:00 am so there would be no people present. However it was supposed to be videoed from a camera. The video was supposed to make it even more 'viral'. When Smollett was showing the police where it happened he mentioned that it must have been recoded as he pointed to an overhead video camera. The camera did not capture the footage because it was viewing in a different direction. The fact that Smollett knew there was a camera initially triggered the police's suspicion about it being a hoax.
DJ (Boston)
Because he didn't know if the ”attack” would be captured by some surveillance camera. He needed to make it look real and according to Chicago police, the two ”attackers” practiced the assault (like rehearsing a scene) so they could make it look real in case there was a surveillance camera. Because the ”attack” actually happened (as rehearsed) he can draw from his.memory actual facts about this place -- it would make it more believable. If he hadn't done that and he reports this ”attack” I think it would have been discovered as a fraud much earlier.
marklee (nyc)
@KR Yes, thank you. That's clear now.
Sunny (Winter Springs)
To be fair, I will wait for due process in this case. However, if found guilty. I hope Jussie Smollett serves some prison time. This type of social media ~ attention seeking behavior cannot be tolerated.
Paul (Atlanta, GA)
For the moment set aside the alleged mugging hoax . They are also accusing him of sending a a threatening letter containing a white powder to his studio, causing anguish, worry and fear to others -possibly to others who are African-American and/or gay. Causing people to worry if they would get sick or be poisoned before it was learned what that substance actually was. In order to get higher pay, he is said to have caused mental harm to others. Showing he has no concern for others he works with. Also of note, Federal authorities take a dim view of anthrax threat letters - and so should we all.
hey nineteen (chicago)
Hats off to the Chicago Police Department. They did their job, thoroughly investigated the story and identified the perpetrator. That the perp was the alleged victim himself must have come as a surprising twist in the tale. Thanks CPD for a job well and righteously done.
Mike (NY)
Guy makes $65,000 an episode. I can understand him being upset. The man is keeping him down!
Terry (America)
I'm not good with police officers giving their personal opinions condemning people accused of crimes. It's improper and unprofessional. And while I'm at it, I don't think mug shots should be made public, at least until proven guilty. Sadly though, this guy, as probably with most, would likely be upset if he didn't get a nice mugshot out of all this.
DJ (Boston)
You should absolutely want mug shots released (as well as arrest records and criminal daily logs released) for every person arrested. If they didn’t, it would become a ”secret police” and we would no idea what they are up to (think Russia).
Dan Locker (Brooklyn)
What Jussie is alledged to have done is most upsetting not because it is breaking the law but because it adds to the divisiveness that is hurting our society. Trump does things that upset us through his own ineptitude. Most informed voters are seeing that. All Jussie has done with his actions is to cause Trump supporters to stop and think that Trumps positions on the press and Hollywood may be valid. Also, Jussie has validated the Rights position on the SCOTUS process when his lawyers scream for "innocence until proven guilty". Did we not here the Left say that concept was outdated and not longer valid? Did not Jussie say that as well? Justice for all Jussie!
batazoid (Cedartown,GA)
You know, I can see Pres. Trump commuting Smollett's federal prison sentence, if he admits his guilt and pays restitution.
HKGuy (Hell's Kitchen)
I read so many attacks on the Chicago Police Department, that it wasn't to be believed because racism is endemic, that it's corrupt, that it leaked to harm Smollett, and on. In an ideal world, these people would apologize. In retrospect, the police handled this case with sensitivity and diligence, and the anger from the black police chief today was heartfelt and well deserved.
Patricia (Pasadena)
He paid them with a CHECK? Didn't he learn anything from working on that show? LOL. But it's not funny. This stunt helped ruin Black History Month. As a white person who has come to enjoy and look forward to Black History Month, I propose there should be a do-over for Black History Month in March, because people need the positivity and illumination, especially now.
@Patricia He paid them by check because he wanted to deduct the expense from his taxes.
R (Illinois)
“I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention.” The "families of gun violence" only exist because you're not doing your job, so spare me your anger. Though perhaps if you actually read the local news, you'd see those families get press all the time. In fact, conservatives can't help but drag them up every time they need an excuse to deflect from possible solutions to gun problems. They're getting that info from somewhere.
Chaton (South Central, Los Angeles)
We don’t need this. None of us. There are more great people of all races that know he did bad. He’s a deeply disturbed narcissist to do this without conscience. His mug shot looks like he’s loving the camera. He got his fame. Hollywood should say bye Felicia. Let’s move on
marrtyy (manhattan)
He played right into the media's perceived right to be judge and jury. He did the rounds: threatening letter ... playing up the attack... the Trump angle.... using Robin Roberts to lobe softball questions. All for a raise? without a thought for all the people he hurt... WOW! Now I hope the media he used, use him. Revenge is a ... yeah.. well we know...
Ellen F. Dobson (West Orange, N.J.)
He was just trying to make more money: an actor trying to make a living doing what actors do: act. Unfortunately for him his narcissim and stupidity got in the way. It's a good thing he doesn't write screenplays or work for the government. What a dumb bell with no insight about his actions affect others. In fact maybe he should consider joining the Trump administration: he's just the right guy for the job and there are plenty of openings.
Cliff R (Gainsville)
Is there some sort of viral epidemic out there? Greed and stupidity are the symptoms.
Yvette (NYC, NY)
The harm this man has done is despicable. I hope he serves time. I hope he loses his job too. Horrible horrible thing to have done.
NYC Dweller (NYC)
Egg on face of every liberal who condemned Trump and his supporters who thought they were responsible for what this guy did to himself. What a loser
Lisa (Plainsboro, NJ)
One relatively isolated and highly publicized incident does not vindicate Trump nor absolve him from the fall out of his hateful, venomous behavior. It's not either/or - they are both reprehensible, except one is a two bit actor and the other the President of the United States.
More likely an object lesson for us ALL to be wary of confirmational biases. As for Trump, his villany is manifest, thank you very much. As for Trump supporters, there are sufficient studies documenting white racism as the single strongest motivator for most who voted for him. If the motive had been genuine populist economic resentment, Bernie Sanders would be President.
Maggie (U.S.A.)
Live by the social media sword, die by the social media sword. To be expected...and some very funny: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6730687/Social-media-reacts-Jussie-Smolletts-hoax-attack-arrest-memes.html
Sandi Plinth (Klamath Falls OR)
@Maggie Love the link. Remember, "If we didn't have bad taste, we wouldn't have no taste at all!"
DennisG (Cape Cod)
Fake Noose!!!
CFXK (Alexandria, VA)
Is he really stupid enough to think he could have gotten away with this? It's mind-boggling.
GMooG (LA)
@CFXK It's even dumber than we thought. The two guys took an uber to the location of the attack, and Smollett paid them with a check!
Ice Cream & Cakes (NYC)
Jussie Smollet is simply an individual who used lies and manipulation as a means for a desired end. He is not the first, nor will he be the last person who has or will ever do this. Blaming political affiliation and those who did the “humane” thing and sympathized - with a story that we all now know is stranger than fiction, is senseless.
DC (Philadelphia)
@Ice Cream & Cakes So this is how a given side dismisses their actions when they are wrong? Wonder what the reaction would have been if he was a supporter of Trump and was white and not gay? Would he have been given the same treatment of sympathy? I do not know, maybe he would have. Our problem today is that both sides are not believing in equal treatment under the law nor that there is truly equal rights for all. I continue to fall back to what Michael Douglass' character in "An American President" said about America and freedom. "America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, 'You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." When we are able to do this then we will really have achieved something. But for now neither side is capable of coming close to this ideal.
Sean O'Brien (Sacramento)
Excuse me, but there are other things going on. Why is this on the front of the TImes. An actor goes to extremes to stay payed and relevant. What's the big deal? I have sympathy for Chicago police and the money expended, but that's precisely why ole Jussie is going to do time. He'll probably learn some important life lessons that he hasn't yet grasped. I just can't muster the interest when the world's future is on a knife point.
Sitges (san diego)
What a sick society we live in where the insatiable quest for fame, money and headlines pushes an unscrupolous character to do something as despicable as this. Aside from lying to the police and abusing their resources, the greater damage is the one he has inflicted on legitimate victims of such crimes. Instead of releasing him on $100,000 bail, he should have been thrown in jail for a long time1 I hope his career is derailed for good and for the rest of his life.
F1Driver (Los Angeles)
Mr. Smollet is the personification of a privileged man . Such is the power of identity politics and blind hatred for President Trump. This hatred clouds reason and self awareness. I wish Mr. Smollet well, I hope he gets the medical services he needs to overcome his insecurities and delusions of grandeur. I suspect he is convinced he deserves more.
Meh (East Coast)
Dislike for Trump isn't blind. We can hear him and his administration lying.
Oh, it's not blind. Trump has earned his opprobrium.
maria5553 (nyc)
I don't even need to read the comments to know that it is a bunch of people elated that they believe they were right all along and racism does not exist, it's just something that people of color make up to make them feel bad etc. I don't believe the police version and until it's proven otherwise I believe Jussie Smollett's. The police clearly has personal animosity against him.
Levon S (Left coast)
Enjoy living in your bubble unencumbered by facts or, heaven forbid, other points of view.
Mystery Lits (somewhere)
@maria5553 Ladies and gentlemen.... here is your example of blind willful ignorance.
GR Max (CT)
You are just incorrect here. The issue is how much addition damage he has to our already dysfunctional race relations issue
Ephemerol (Northern California)
This reminds me of an incredible incident that occurred in the Bay Area several years ago by two different women who were completely unknown to one another. Both filed police reports that they were attacked and sexually assaulted on a popular South Bay hiking trail on the same day. Under further police questioning both confessed that they had made the stories and descriptions up. Something tells me this actor will pay a more public price for his deception and maneuvering. This is coming from someone ( myself ) who was brutally attacked with clubs to the head other life altering injuries by African American males in October of ‘93. My case never made any new source and was ignored and buried by the local PD.
TJ (New York)
I didn't believe the story from the get-go. The alleged perpetrators just happened upon the Smollett at 2 a.m., with rope and gasoline at the ready? Just hanging out in sub-zero weather, waiting and hoping that Smollett would appear?
Zugzwang (OH)
Another "hoax" against conservative, straight white men. Smollet, Kavanaugh, the Covington student, etc. Thank God we have a President who represents us. The organized left of academia, the media, and Hollywood loathe us. Don't think we don't know it. Trump/Pence 2020.
writer (New York city)
@zugzwang - except that 90% of the domestic terrorists in this country are white, heterosexual men. Kinda like most of the "founding fathers".
liz (new england)
I read down some of the comments here and it's very disappointing to have my opinion of the democratic mindset as represented by the Times audience confirmed. The majority of comments are all so self centered. It's all about the LGBT community, it's all about the Civil Rights movement and how this set it back. It's all about the black community. How few people today, seem to grasp the fact this was an act against white, heterosexual Americans by a minority black and LGBT person. I'm always surprised at the immaturity of so many people in this country, that they can't put aside their own personal views to see something objectively and consider the opposite side. No one today seems to be concerned at all, at the white heterosexual Americans who have been targeted by this act and this despicable attempt to smear their reputation and paint them with the ugliest brush. I haven't read any comments that lead one to think, anyone here has put themselves in the place of a white heterosexual American today to consider how they feel about this. Why is that? And how do you think white heterosexual Americans feel reading these comments? I'm sure most Times readers could care less.
Samuel (Chicago)
He insults society, all society meaning all of the wonderful, caring good people of every racial group! Investigators working hard firstly for his story only to find the lies. What cost of money too. Real man hours by pros looking for perpetrators that were part of his conspiracy!
Peter P. Bernard (Detroit)
It was encouraging to see how the entertainment community rallied to the first reports of an attack that appeared to be homophobic. It was easy to understand the wide-spread support the actor was given because “hate crimes” are a reality in America. What was most disturbing about the first reports was that an actor was being attacked for playing a fictional TV role. If the current report is accurate that the incident was staged, then the false report is more harmful than had there been an actual attack. Great harm has been done to everyone including Trump’s supporters (which Trump has hastened to take advantage of). Most harmed are the people associated with the Empire series; their jobs could be in jeopardy with the highly political nature of the incident. But there is a small ray of light: If Empire survives this bad press, Mr. Smollett won’t be able to continue on the show. However, the writers can use the death of his character as a result of a homophobic attack to make a point about the reality of hate -crimes.
Ryan Swanzey (Monmouth, ME)
If this explanation of events is proven in court to be true, we can’t let the conclusion be that when someone says they were the victim of a predatory and especially ethnically motivated crime, we are to doubt first instead of listen first. We just can’t go back to a climate where victims of real crimes of hate feel powerless to speak up or fight back. Hate crimes have increased in this country for three consecutive years. Reality can’t be waved away as if those numbers are distorted by hundreds of cases of staged attacks; unfortunately, I expect that some will choose this narrative without thinking about the consequences that has for the victims of hate crimes, which we should condemn no matter who is targeted. If this version of events is what occurred, this individual made a very selfish choice that will make others less safe and more easily dismissed. If this version of events is what occurred, the police chief is absolutely right and ought to be as upset as he is.
Kurfco (California)
There is a very simple reason why stories like this are accepted at face value: people with an agenda want it to be true, are terribly disappointed when it is disproved. It's hard to sit back and wait for an investigation to bring out the facts when you are so invested in a particular story being true. Then, of course, there is the 24/7 media. They need a non stop supply of stories or at least one story that can be dissected, analyzed, argued over, yada yada to fill air time. Have you ever seen a panel of six people where even one says "I'm reserving judgment until we know more."? Of course not. TV bloviators are put on panels to opine, whether they know anything or not.
Observer of the Zeitgeist (Middle America)
The saddest thing of the whole affair is that I know at least a dozen people on the political left who are actually upset that this turned out not to be true.
Bob Richards (CA)
Those who are found guilty of filing a substantially fabricated police report about a violent felony should be subject to the maximum sentence that someone who had actually committed the crime as reported would be subject to - including hate crime enhancements and gun usage enhancements. Perhaps we should only use sentencing enhancements due to "prior convictions" of the person doing the false reporting, not the "prior convictions" of whoever (if any) the reporter claimed or implied did the crime but I'm open to negotiation on this point. However, police who perjure themselves or file false reports should be an exception. They should get twice the maximum sentence of whoever they are trying to frame (even if the suspect is actually guilty of some elements of the crime, the officer still serves a companion sentence of 2x those crimes the suspect was actually guilty of). Smollett should go to prison for a very long time if convicted (although I suspect the maximum sentence is too low). This is a fine time to set an example so the public has more confidence that such reports in the future are not falsified. There are just too many of these reports that have turned out to be false and this erodes public trust.
T (Nyc)
You want to trust the legal system, but then can't because of rampant abuse. You want to trust victims, but then greed produces situations like this. There is so much anger on all sides of everything, and so many of us are guilty of perpetuating these frenzied news cycles. The media profits off of outrage. It sells. We need to try to be better to one another and curtail our dependance on this kind of coverage. If you're enjoying your outrage, you're doing it wrong.
Charlotte (Montana)
While it is unfortunate and shameful what has gone on for the past few weeks with this shame, I wonder if there is some level of mental illness on the part of Mr. Smollett, sincerely. I can't image anyone in their right mind, especially someone who is in the public eye and so well liked, who would concocted and justify this kind of hate crime with the heightened sensitivity to these kinds of acts in our country. Mr. Smollett does not stand alone in this and it is unbelievable that the two brothers are just getting a pass; this plan couldn't have been carried out if they would have opted not to participate. I think as part of Mr. Smollett's punishment he should be made to participate in some counseling and do some community service involving youth groups who truly suffer from racial and/or sexually oriented bullying or hate crimes. God Bless America.
srwdm (Boston)
The damage this guy has done—and the betrayal of all those who helped him to a better life—is significant and undeniable. How could he think he could get away with it? Were there any accomplices besides the brothers? Let’s hope not.
cheryl (yorktown)
Superintendent Johnson was a most effective spokesman for his City and police, and for explaining the harm done by this hoax. His controlled anger edged with disappointment carried the perfect tone.
Don Q (New York)
What an age we live in, the age of victimhood. We love to brag about being a victim, and this is how many people wish to get ahead in life. Lying about being a victim. Some people wish to stay a perpetual victim; they are scared of having nothing else to blame for their own shortcomings.
LShayne (Lancashire, UK)
The thing is he was on $65K an episode. It’s not about enjoying being a victim- it’s about greed.
Don Q (New York)
@LShayne Which goes directly to my point, as mentioned, that people use supposed victim status to move themselves ahead in life. It only makes the world we live in worse by making others feel like victims by extension.
Lefthalfbach (Philadelphia)
The FBI is involved because he used the Mails? Geez, Smollett has some serious, serious problems. He could do State time AND Federal time. Law Enforcement is going to take this very, very seriously. The DA charged a Felony 4 instead of a Misdemeanor 1. He is definitely sending Smollett a message. Smollett's lawyers met with the DA Tuesday, probably trying to make a deal for an M2 or M3, pay a fine and that's that. The Result? No deal, arrested for an F4, cuffed, printed, photo'ed- the proverbial Whole Nine Yards.
Johnny Stark (The Howling Wilderness)
This guy hoped to improve his career prospects and income by portraying himself as a victim. It’s a sad commentary on how our culture has evolved that instead of valuing grit, determination and accomplishment, we’ve come to prize victimhood. Hand-in-hand is the hate instantly and thoughtlessly poured onto alleged perpetrators.
BerkshireBob (Dalton, MA)
Why is this national news? In the giant scheme of things, who cares. I am much more disturbed by the fact that the man who occupies my White House commits worse and more damaging crimes EVERY DAY and no charges or consequences are EVER even contemplated. We have become a nation so attentive to celebrity that vital issues are ignored. We are indeed doomed. Glad I am old.
LFDJR (San Francisco)
Trump and his people lie all the time. Why are government resources not focused on the lies of Trump? Why no accountability?
Levon S (Left coast)
Are you seriously expecting the Chicago PD to use their resources on Trump? If, as alleged, this is a hoax, what do you think of that? Do you think Smollett should be charged, tried and if found guilty, jailed and or fined, irrespective of what DJT does or doesn’t do?
Robert Isaiah Nielsen (New York, NY)
Well, he is certainly getting the attention he was seeking. Guess his plan worked after all.
nzierler (New Hartford NY)
Smollett is in a world of trouble but that is the least of it. By falsely accusing white men, it will make it nearly impossible for any future incidents of whites attacking blacks to be credible. What is unfathomable is how Democratic candidates for president Kamala Harris and Corey Booker expressed their outrage before knowing the facts. Harris, a former DA and Booker, who holds a law degree, should withdraw from the race now because there is no way they can possibly walk back their false allegations of racial bias and assumption of guilt so prematurely. They behaved no better than Trump by jumping on a story to gain a political advantage.
MRod (OR)
What Smollet did was obviously reprehensible but some commenters are extrapolating this incident to mean that claims of racism and bias towards lgbtq people is overblown. This was one bizarre event. It has no statistical significance.
George (Concord, NH)
Shame on the liberal press for jumping on this story and using it a a way to once again blame Trump for what Smollett claimed happened. Just like the staged mobbing of a Native American who was in fact the one who was harassing the young men rather than the other way around, the press could not vilify the boys who were set up enough. So much so that they received death threats. I understand the impulse to jump on the wagon whenever one new outlet reports a story that has not been given time to be fully investigated, but it diminishes the impact and credibility of legitimate news. Before recently, I could expect that news stories were vetted and therefore true because I thought that getting to the truth was what the press did. This makes otherwise prestigious news Outlets look no better than Brietbart or the National Enquirer. Would not it be more prudent to wait till all the facts are known before writing op-ed pieces about what a story means? Worst of all it lends credence to the Comb-over in Chief's claim that the liberal press is bias against him.
NBrooke (CA)
I really want to believe that he did no "fake" it. If so, he has done a huge disservice to and harmed real victims of hate crimes. Next time a victim is assaulted people are going to pause to ask, "really? are we sure they aren't faking it." Groups in this country, people of color, LGBTQ, women, immigrants, etc. don't need this kind of "help" in the effort to end hate crimes.
El Profesor (Indianapolis)
@NBrooke My response in any case when anyone makes an accusation against anyone else is to first ask, "Really? Can this accusation be true?" In other words, I begin with the assumption that the accused is innocent. Then, I gather evidence and let the evidence decide. Depending on the evidence, I decide whether I believe the accuser or the accused. And sometimes the evidence is insufficient to the point that what I believe is different from the truth. This episode will have absolutely zero impact on the way that I will react to the next news of an alleged hate crime (which sadly, invariably emerge somewhere in the world or in the US, within just a few days).
Stan Gomez (DC)
You are not alone. A great number of celebrities, politicians and journalists also “really wanted to believe” this hoax because it provided proof to their ‘victimization’ agendas. Sorry it didn’t work out this time. Smh.
PK (Gwynedd, PA)
It shows that anybody can be contemptible.
Edward (Honolulu)
This is a turning point in many ways. It shows how far we have gone in allowing journalistic excess and sensationalist propaganda to ignore and preempt the normal standards of news reporting. Time to rethink. This story would have gone nowhere if it wasn’t for the strained attempt of the liberal media to draw a link to Trump. He is the target of this questionable news reporting. The Sullivan case established an artificially high threshold of proof for a public figure in a libel case. Over time the media have abused it and taken it far beyond its original intent to ensure free and fair-minded reporting to the point where the President is blamed for everything. As Clarence Thomas stated, it’s time to roll back that case. The media and the public would be better served if the normal standards of journalistic integrity were applied as a legal threshold instead of malicious intent which encourages and protects the kind of sloppy unprofessional reporting we have recently witnessed.
Paul (Peoria)
It seems to me that there is an element of mental illness to this entire half-baked scheme.
Hugh MacDonald (Los Angeles)
Mr. Smollett can always find a job in the Trump White House. It's a nest of bunglers. And liars. And people filled with self-pity and grandiose ambitions.
Wilhelm (Finger Lakes)
This story is perfect for a Saturday Night Live spoof, but you won't see it. The left is incapable of laughing at itself.
jaco (Nevada)
Hmmm, what is Kamala Harris and Cory Booker gonna say now?
Just Me (Lincoln Ne)
Perhaps he will be getting paid less soon?
Steve (nyc)
guessing this was not the intent of, "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter"
Sue (Cleveland)
This story was huge because it had every issue the 24/7 cable news networks love: racism, LGBTQ, celebrity, and redneck MAGA Trump hooligans. Cable news gutted their news divisions years ago. They now give us cheaply produced talking head shows. Now that the story has proved to be a hoax, they can focus on what went wrong with Jussie. It’s all a shame and a sham.
Clinton Davidson (Vallejo, California)
Note to media and progressives: sometimes the word "alleged" is your friend.
Hellen (NJ)
I have zero sympathy and have a lot of anger towards him. My family lived for centuries with threats of violence and lynchings. I have two family members who witnessed a lynching and the beating to death of a black man who didn't move to the side fast enough for some drunken white men to pass. Smollet is a perfect example of revisionist history where American atrocities are minimized. He was living in a post racial fantasy world and when reality hit he used this stunt because he was raised to trivialize this part of American history. The only irony is that if he was 100% white there would be sympathetic articles written about his mental health. The media psychologists would be falling all over themselves with pseudo excuses. Yet his black ancestry will see him getting the max and I hope he isn't waiting for the gay calvary to save him. Oh my, the irony!
Whancock (sc)
He needs to be in jail.
I had thought this sounded fishy for a number of reasons -- white, die-hard Trump-ians, who are carrying bleach and a rope with them on a frigidly cold and who watch Empire enough to recognize Smollett on sight, slap him around a bit, pour bleach on his clothes (?) and then put a noose around his neck. Their jobs done; they leave him and go on their way. That all struck me as sounding a bit unlikely and I said so when the facts were first described to me. My wife accused me of being overly conservative/a bit of a racist, but perhaps, at least some times, not everything is about race and hoaxes are hoaxes. It didn't seem too hard to see through this. I'm guessing the cops saw through it pretty quickly, although they didn't say it until they had evidence it was a fraud.
Glork (Montclair, NJ)
How soon is he going to drool through the standard pablum statement about " starting a dialogue "?
P McGrath (USA)
How stupid was this kid to think that Chicago PD wasn't going to figure this out? I mean he still had his Subway sandwich in his hand and the noose around his neck when the cops go to him. Nothing made sense. Today the Chicago Police Captain never mentioned the fact that the act was meant to target Trump and Trump supporters. Jussie was not targeting blacks or gays he was targeting Trump supporters. Isn't that a hate crime by targeting a specific group? I guess going forward especially at CNN and the NYTs, that elephant in the room will remain silent in the media.
Beach Chair Philosopher (New York, NY)
It's worth noting the certainty with which the NY Times first reported the story in a tweet on the morning of January 29, which is still online: "Jussie Smollett, one of the stars of the television show “Empire,” was attacked in Chicago by 2 assailants who yelled racial and homophobic slurs. The incident is being investigated as “a possible hate crime,” according to the police." Does the "national newspaper of record" have an answer to this clear violation of fact-checking norms? Perhaps a new social media editor who clearly isn't biased? An apology from the Editorial Board? This tweet not only ignited a firestorm of pointless, detrimental rage comments where it was posted and retweeted, it also dismayingly provides the "kernel of truth" that feeds the disinformation campaigns of the "fake news" accusers.
david (la, ca)
Just really annoying because this is perfect catnip for racists.
marklee (nyc)
Tawana Brawley anyone?
Bill Lombard (Brooklyn)
Many were fired for much less , P.C. fascism won’t let them admit he is guilty. It would admit their own elitism , their own racism against white people and disdain of the regular working person. The hatred of trump is the hatred of the elites over the working class.
Caroline Malavolta (Florida)
WHY ? I see it as hate , by you . Really what honest reason do you feel such hate? You have had a good life, better than most young Americans, White, Black, or any other color. What drove you to this terrible racist failed staged act.? I am disheartened , at the age of 84, I have seen too much hurt to this country and I was happy to see it pass. Why do you and others want to relive the bad times.?
Brewster Millions (Santa Fe, N.M.)
What Smollett did was wrong and, yes, racist. What numerous democrat politicians did was clearly more wrong, politically motivated, and yes, with reference to what Kamala, Bernie, Kirsten, and Cory had to say, racist. Each of them were fast to shoot first without knowing any facts or asking any questions.
M (CA)
And the liberal press just ate the story up without any hard questions being asked because it fit their anti-Trump agenda.
Maggie (U.S.A.)
@M Their anti-white agenda, as if 30% of latinos and 10% of blacks didn't vote for Trump in 2016.
Here Come Da Judge (Harlem USA)
He committed with his serous plot -a felony crime with his deceit for personal fame and gain. Federal mail crime too. Knucklehead self centered actions. Very dangerous guy. No conscience involved. All for his fantasy at the expense of the good public and the Chicago PD. Pathetic acting in his ABC interview. Sad that he was inciting hate too out of “me me me” greed. From Harlem to Hollywood we know he’s “not right”. Anyone saying you poor thing? Not if they have a brain.
Jack (Boston)
Right from the start it was weird. Subway shop at 2am in deserted cold Chicago streets? Huh? Too weird.
ladyluck (somewhereovertherainbow)
@Here Come Da Judge Agree. He's a very dangerous imposter who attacked his city, his country and entire races of people without blinking an eye. All for personal gain. What else is he capable of?
Michal (United States)
I’m waiting for Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour et al to organize a protest, with signs reading “Je suis Jussie Smollett”. Yes. They certainly are.
ssc (TX)
He's history
DerekGator (Atlanta)
I said to my wife the day that this story broke that something sounds fishy here. Two white guys in MAGA hats running around in downtown Chicago at 2am, they would have been dead meat in less than 15 minutes.
LongDistance (Texas)
It is a hate crime perpetrated by Smollett on people of Color and Gay who face real problems in life. Should be tried as one.
Mystery Lits (somewhere)
Duke LaCross, Mattress Girl, Covington Kids, Smollett..... I'll just sit right here and wait for the next hoax that the media will latch onto and ignore lack of evidence and not wait for more facts... because "Progressive" narrative.
Marco (Seattle)
career, credibility, and essentially, life, over for this guy ....Damaged Goods 101
PeteH (MelbourneAU)
The best part of this is the humiliation of the SJW-Intersectionality Gestapo who leapt (once again) to conclusions based on "believing", rather than "evidence". It's always good to see those horrid bullies take a fall.
Sam Cheever (California)
He did a really stupid thing. Pointe finally.
Michael (Sugarman)
Why is Jussie Smollett headline news in the Times? He's an actor on a TV show going through a crime story with an unusual twist. That's it. It has no more intrinsic value than the latest Enquirer shocking revelation about which starlet just had a tummy tuck. It might fit somewhere downpage in the art section, but as front page, top of the fold, it is demeaning to the Times and all of its readers.
Maggie (U.S.A.)
@Michael Because he is a black male. Most of the left press doesn't lift its head for any of the daily female crime victims or white folk.
Dan (Detroit)
The NYT should keep Noah Rothman's op-ed about this case on it's online front page for the rest of the month. Maybe it should burn the url link to his piece into the masthead. The Times should be thoroughly chastened here and should change course. NYT and WaPo are working in lockstep with the social justice left to discredit all of the left and to strengthen Trump. They may not have been aware of this up until now but surely they must have some inkling as to where they've gone wrong. Can we get back to just reporting the facts please? No more narratives. No more clickbait. Just facts and real journalism. Thank you.
Maggie (U.S.A.)
@Dan Journalism in America died 20 years ago, along with the careers of thousands of the world's finest professional reporters and editors. Everything now in the U.S. press is about monetization of the internet, geared 100% toward millennial clickbait analytics. Reporters have been replaced by low wage assembly line content farm providers and over paid politically correct opinion blatherers.
Larry (Lexington, MA)
With all the problems this country faces, why is the Times placing this ridiculous story on the front page? As my mother used to ask, "haven't you anything better to do"?
Jp (Michigan)
And if the story was true would you say the same thing?
Dan (Olympia, WA)
Precisely why 'Believe the victim!' carte blanche mentality is dangerous indeed. All allegations should be taken seriously, as this one was, but judgment withheld until investigations are complete. There is a special place in hell for Mr. Smollett.
Ella Jackson (New York, NY)
He probably should have invested that $3500 in acting lessons....
Charles Becker (Sonoma State University)
Every accusation of abuse or predation deserves to be taken seriously, but belief should only follow an investigation.
True Observer (USA)
Great character acting. He was just scheming to get ahead.
Robert (St Louis)
This article completely misses a very important point. The two Nigerians have also testified that the letter that Smollett received which made terroristic threats was actually sent by himself, to himself. If true, there will also be a federal prosecution, one that will make the charge of filing a false police report seem like a traffic ticket.
Chance (GTA)
If the Chicago police prove to be correct, I hope Mr. Smollett understands just how much damage he may have done to Democratic Presidential candidates and politicians who zealously condemned the assault.
Chance (GTA)
@Marcus Aurelius Smollett apparently created the bandwagon.
Alex (Indiana)
Not all incidents and accusations of racism or sexual harassment are true and what they may at first seem. (by this standard, Mr. Smollett is also entitled to his day in court.) Due process matters. Ask questions before, not after, you shoot. What is scariest about incidents such as this is the speed, certainty, and in many cases self-righteousness with which so many initially gave Mr. Smollet their support. A very similar situation occurred with allegations of bigotry at a rally near the Lincoln Memorial just a few weeks ago. In both these incidents many in the mainstream liberal press, and several Democratic candidates for President showed poor judgement. As we choose our next President, we must ask ourselves: do we want someone with a hair trigger as the commander in chief of our armed forces? We must also ask: has our culture of victimization gone too far - way too far?
R (Illinois)
@Alex "What is scariest about incidents such as this is the speed, certainty, and in many cases self-righteousness with which so many initially gave Mr. Smollet their support." No. That is nowhere near the scariest thing about this scenario. "A very similar situation occurred with allegations of bigotry at a rally near the Lincoln Memorial just a few weeks ago." Ahhhh. There it is. Because a smug privileged white teen who was seen in a slightly better light only because he was being taunted by a black group known for their insane beliefs, and who has access to lawyers who can drop a law suit on one of the biggest papers in the country without fear of the cost in case he loses, is totally the same as a situation which will have ramifications for every black or queer person who finds themselves victim to violence.
Pecan (Grove)
The letter he wrote to himself, using big colorful letters he cut out of a magazine, was a clue. Also, his indignation on the t.v. show. Poor guy. Not a very good actor.
From Where I Sit (Gotham)
Maybe that’s why he was paid what he was.
Prof (San Diego)
What a teachable moment! The lesson? Once again, the perils of Confimation Bias. The rapidity by which “pillars” of the media, celebrities, and National political “Leaders” uncritically swallowed the ugly narrative - one that supports their yet uglier biases - was predictable but pathetic nonetheless. I predict that the forthcoming excuses and rationalizations for the errors will be no less self-serving.
Erica Smythe (Minnesota)
I just hope this young man doesn't beat himself up too badly over this serious mistake in judgement.
Katie (Atlanta)
@Erica Smythe. He is 36, no longer classified as a young man, and I hope your comment is satirical in nature. He should spend the rest of his life shamed by others and ashamed of himself for what he chose to do. Our country could use some more shame and then people wouldn’t dare do the kind of things Jussie Smollett is accused of doing.
Erica Smythe (Minnesota)
@Katie Did this really go over both of your heads? We're losing our sense of humor people. Nobody was hurt..except for Mr. Smollett who is going to find out what being written out of a script is all about. "Beating himself up!!"
And I can predict one thing: If another similar incident happens tomorrow, the media will be all over it as though they haven't learned anything. The news media are so MAGAphobic that they must find stories to match their narratives.
Richard Schumacher (The Benighted States of America)
He saw that threats and stunts were working for Trump, so naturally he assumed...
Jay (Everywheresville)
Comments on ongoing investigations should not be made until the investigation is completed, point blank period.
This is MAGAphobia. Extreme fear and hatred that leads to irrational and harmful behaviors and actions.
anon. (Detroit)
difference between conservatives and liberals: when the truth came out we became the strongest voice condemning him. There are conservatives who STILL sorry Roy Moore and Republicans after suddenly the party of Putin!
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
Fearless Prediction. Since he's lawyered up with celebrity lawyer Garigos, get ready for the Victimhood Angle. He's a victim because; the treatment of his ancestors during slavery times. Or, he was picked on at his school. Or, he feels as if the motion picture industry marginalizes him, and it has caused mental anguish, resulting in PTSD, which caused him to self destruct like this. And as a result, "It AIN'T HIS FAULT.".
It seems he is willing to see his two friends go to prison for the crime he himself committed, rather than man up and take responsibility for his actions. That's even another level of selfish.
Christina Gordon (South Carolina)
Fox Corporation, in order to avoid the appearance of complicity the termination or suspension needs to happen immediately. If Mr. Smollett was a Caucasian male he would have been fired once law enforcement personnel released the details of the inconsistencies in the story and that the focus of the investigation had changed. There are simply to many coincidences: he was acquainted with the brothers, the surveillance videos showing the brothers making purchases allegedly used in the hoax, the grand jury giving approval for formal charges to be made, the interview given on Good Morning America. You can lead my example and show other your employees what doing the right thing is, holding a person accountable for their actions especially when those actions have deepened the racial divide in our country and unfairly and adversely impacted legitimate victims of any future hate crime.
Dave C (Houston)
Mr Smollett, a privileged and respected actor with a million dollar paycheck realized he could improve his marketability and net worth by raising his public profile. To do so,he concocted an outlandish story he was certain his chosen audience would buy, hook, line, and sinker. He chose to make MAGA hat wearing White conservatives the bad guys. And they didn't attack millionaire actor smollett, they attacked a poor oppressed Gay Black man. And he almost got away with it. After all, several presidential candidates, activist leaders and media networks immediately backed his story and piled on their own biases against those evil White conservatives, and all without a shred of evidence. He even got a sympathetic statement from the Bad Guy himself, Donald Trump, what a feat! One presidential candidate immediately labeled it a modern day lynching. After the story fell apart, did he issue an immediate apology? Why no. He said he'd wait for all the details to come out. What a brilliant idea, about a week too late. What's fascinating is that this oppressed Gay Black man had to find two Black friends to play the role of Maga hat wearing White racists, and he had to pay them to do it. Worst of all is that this is just the latest of dozens of recent incidents where members of assorted identity groups used their membership to prop up false allegations of racist attacks. They know all they have to do is be a member of a favored identity group, and blame thier political opponents.
Maria Littke (Ottawa, Canada)
@Dave C well said!
Carmela Sanford (Niagara Falls USA)
Why should we believe the police? Especially the Chicago police? I think its corruption goes back to decades upon decades before Al Capone. Mr. Smollett is innocent until proven guilty. And even if he is guilty, it doesn't change anything about the world of racism, homophobia, sexism, anti-semitism, and myriad other negatives about American society. Much of this negativism is wallowed in by the current, lazy, looney-tunes President of the United States. And, speaking of the President, doesn't he, with his own history of race-baiting, have better things to do with his time than tweet like a teenager about this? I'm fairly certain he does. After all, thanks to his incompetence in the Oval House, yesterday Putin said that Russia may have to reconsider things and return to pointing missiles at the United States. Thanks Donnie, while you're sleeping-in, the world ticks closer to chaos.
Katie (Atlanta)
@Carmela Sanford Left legal theory at its finest: He’s not guilty despite heaps of evidence to the contrary but even if he is guilty, it’s not his fault because racism, because homophobia, because awful America and because Trump. It never gets old to those for whom the term personal responsibility is itself a form of hate speech.
Andy (Salt Lake City, Utah)
The motive was salary, right? How does getting mugged in Chicago get you a raise? Even if Smollett hadn't staged the attack, the reasoning makes no sense.
Kurfco (California)
A person wouldn't lie about something like this. Shouldn't we just take someone at their word? Excellent work, Chicago PD!!
bill d (phoenix)
“People generally see what they look for and hear what they listen for.” - To Kill a Mockingbird
Dr. Vinny Boombah (NYC)
A star of a Fox TV show busted for faking an assault. The irony is almost unbearable
William Case (United States)
To put the U.S. hate crime problem in perspective, in 2017 there were 17,285 murders and 7,175 hate crime incidents. Americans are far more likely to be murder victims than hate crime victims. Of the 6,370 known hate crimes offenders, 50.7 percent were white (including Hispanics), and 21.3 percent were black (including Hispanics). Census data show that whites make up 76.6 percent of the populations while blacks make up 13.4 percent of the population. Blacks were the only racial or ethic group that committed a disproportionately high number of hate crimes. There are 10 hate crime murders, five committed by whites and five committed by blacks. The most common category of hate crimes against person is “intimidation,“ which involves a plausible threat of force but no actual force. It is mostly name-calling. Interracial murders are relatively rare, however, the 2017 FBI Uniform Crime Report (Expanded Homicide Data Table 6) shows that blacks (including Hispanics) murdered 576 whites in 2017 while whites (including Hispanics) murdered 264 blacks. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-6.xls
sammy zoso (Chicago)
This is not quite the tragedy everyone is making it out to be. A heart felt and very sincere apology from Smollett will go a long way toward repairing this fiasco. People have short memories. In time he will be given another chance - if he is truly sorry for the waste of time and work by the Chicago police. The other stuff - media over analysis and the jump to conclusions - is just stupid and pointless. Oh and a shout out to the Chicago police for their great work in reducing the murder rate and crime in Chicago. Great work people! And that's without help from Trump and the feds who refuse to pass tough national gun regulation laws.
Goahead (Phoenix)
Oh boy, Fox News is going rip him into shreds. I don't need to explain this why...
Don Garner (New Zealand)
I am outraged that Chicago is prosecuting this victim of racism. The NYTimes was right to accept his word that he was assaulted because he is a victim of racism. So too with Coventry Catholic school. The NYTime as absolutely right to look only at one video and conclude that this noble NATIVE AMERICAN was victim. Stay on the program!
BorisRoberts (Santa Maria, CA)
Unlike KOHO from Santa Barbara, I did find it fascinating how fast and how high the press jumped when they said "Bearded White Man In MAGA Hat", and that " This is MAGA country". How is this not a hate crime. It even spurred one celebrity to spout out, "I really hate White People now." At the same time, Liam Neeson said, "My friend was raped by a black man, I really wanted to kill one then....", and I'll bet anything his career is over now after that. I bet also that Smollet gets let off and nothing ever come of it.
Frank (phila)
Black or white,gay or straight,right or left leaning he is basically a human being without morals or scruples. I hope he is banished
Eduard C Hanganu (Evansville, IN)
Now all those who rushed to attack the "white men" for the false assault should make direct and clear apologies to the United States and to the world for their failed judgment and bigoted behavior.
Easy Goer (Louisiana)
The only positive is this is on FOX, home of Trump's favorite TV personalities and shows...
Christopher (Canada)
The Trump campaign should give him a medal.
MJT (Santa Barbara CA)
They should throw the book at him. Fake accusations like these are incredibly damaging and become fodder for distraction by those on the right. This puts doubt in the public’s mind whenever real incidents of racism, homophobia, sexism, harassment, assault and so on occur. What a horrible, selfish, human being this guy is. One could only hope that this destroys acting career.
organic farmer (NY)
Everyone can be immature, selfish, and short-sighted. No one is exempt for doing deeply stupid things, especially when they act with disrespect and arrogance. Poorly planned, arrogant, over-the-top 'stunts' have a very good chance of failing and being found out. You acted like a very immature kid, a teenager with very poor judgement, Mr. Smollett. But, you are not a teenager, and you should have thought about the bigger picture : this stupid stunt will reflect very poorly not just on you as an individual and your career, but also on both demographics that you claim to represent. Stupidity has consequences, and sometimes it hurts others. Will you take public responsibility and shame for the consequences you have caused and are causing others? Will you take responsibility for the fact that I have lost respect for Kamela Harris - and will have a very hard time supporting her after her knee-jerk lynching comments? That you may have just lost her Presidential bid for her? Will you apologize to Ms. Harris, and all others in the black and gay communities for your stupidity and arrogance that has hurt them and their reputation?
Cheryl Hayes (Michigan)
Enough Jussie Smollette. An actor stages a publicity stunt. It's on him. We have more important things to read about such as the white nationalist Coast Guard lieutenant preparing to kill off a bunch of Dems. Or the latest gun violence incident.
Nick (Sf)
Always deflection with left leaning people on here.
Tom (Washington DC)
NYT is whitewashing this story by removing the fact that Smollett intentionally setup Trump supporters as the perpetrator of the attack. Nowhere in this article does it mention that Smollett claimed that the men shouted "This is MAGA country" or that he claimed they were wearing red "MAGA" hats. This was a hate crime: a hate crime against white, conservative men.
Brendan (NYC)
"He said his assailants directed homophobic and racial slurs at him, put a rope around his neck and poured a chemical substance on him. Mr. Smollett said the assault occurred after he went to a Subway to pick up food. When the police arrived at Mr. Smollett’s apartment, he was still wearing the rope." NYT Failing to talking about how the "attackers" said "welcome to MAGA country" feeds into the concept of liberal media. The fact that many people blamed trump / the current political climate was not touched on can appear as "fake news" or liberal leaning. Be better NYT.
Joe (Chicago)
"...what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA.” Once again we have a president who shows he is immune to the concept of irony.
A Woman In Boston (Boston, MA)
Ridiculous. And what an idiot. He wrote a CHECK? Called from his cellphone? He needs to watch more TV to see how these things should be done!
Lle (UT)
@A Woman In Boston this guy must be high on something.....
Anthony Adverse (Chicago)
Clearly, Smollett (pronounced like toilette, which rhymes with, well, you know) is a scrambled egg trying to work his way back into the shell; that said, however, the principle this unloved hushpuppy illustrates is quite serious: the presumption of truth of those who report a sexual attack. Mr. Unflushed has muddied up the matter with his filthy splatter but (hold your nose!), it boils down to this: a member of an actually vulnerable and historically abused group LIED for reasons ALWAYS out of season. It happens. It has before and will again, which is the REASON, not opinion, why the ONLY presumption should be (despite the tug of history) to get at the facts. Mr. Smollett, it seems, could not avoid his verbal destiny. "Pull the cistern chain!"
El (Chicago)
I live and work in Chicago. I spend a lot of time mere blocks from where the alleged attack occurred. While anything can happen (and things do happen), this area is about as far from "MAGA Country" as you can get. The phrase seemed unexpected to me when I first heard about it, but I withheld judgment until more facts came to light. I really don't appreciate this guy's selfish and thoughtless defamation of a place and its people. Not to mention the careless misuse of our tax dollars. I'm angry on behalf of the real victims from whom he diverted resources and, now inevitably, trust and credibility. And I'm throwing up my hands in frustration at people (especially public figures) who are SO SURE they don't need anything like "facts" to be sure that they know what happened, and who leap into the "sympathy/outrage arms race" we find ourselves in. I applaud the CPD and its detectives for endeavoring to ascertain the truth, wherever that might have led. As in science, as in many disciplines, evidence matters. Some weeks, it feels like I am screaming this into the void.
C. (New York)
@El I agree wholeheartedly. I’m so frustrated that this entitled person, who fancies himself a star, thinks nothing of using the absolute worst of American History, with all its pain and continued effects to make a point for his own selfish reasons. What kind of person does something like this? This is not a victimless crime. What about all the man hours spent trying to investigate this false accusation. Chicago deserves better. What about those who face true racism and homophobia? What about the average working Joe who isn’t making a glamorous salary and can barely get a raise? The selfishness, insensitivity, narcissism and lies are just stunning.
Randall (Portland, OR)
@El Portland, Oregon is "as far from MAGA Country as you can get" too, but we still have white supremacist killers and rallies here. I'm saddened by Smollett as well. I'm not at all saddened that I believed him. He made a claim. I believed him. The police believed him. They investigated. It turned out to be false. Good work Chicago police. That's exactly how this should go. We should not be skipping the investigation part.
Sarah Johnson (New York)
@El "And I'm throwing up my hands in frustration at people (especially public figures) who are SO SURE they don't need anything like "facts" to be sure that they know what happened, and who leap into the "sympathy/outrage arms race" we find ourselves in." They're just following the precedent set by the president.
Maddy (Paris)
Well, he is certainly famous now.
TheUnsaid (The Internet)
This news article's glaring omission of fact & context -- of how the attack was initially framed as a racist/homophobic attack by "MAGA" supporters is another obvious political bias among journalists. Mr. Smollet reported that the attackers yelled "This is MAGA country!" while they attacked him, ascribing a political motive. It has clearly been a central element of this story, and the NY Times has omitted this central fact from the article. If the attack is indeed a fraud, then in actuality, there is a political motive, but not in the way that was at first eagerly reported. Regardless of political belief, honestly & objectively reporting the context should come first at the NYTimes.
Carmela Sanford (Niagara Falls USA)
@TheUnsaid What's with you people who don't understand journalism? All of of those facts are in previous stories. This is a completely different breaking news story. You don't need any facts repeated. The facts you want have already been published.
Andrew (Stanek)
They specifically mentioned the MAGA on the envelope of the “initial threat” and the implied racism in the “threat’s” letter. Sorry they didn’t make it even more apparent to you.
Kathy Bayham (FoCo CO)
I don't get how the decision to stage a hoax involving 2 forms of discrimination resulted solely from dissatisfaction w/his compensation. He should pay restitution for all the resources used to investigate it. And if he is capable, to feel shame for what he did because, regardless of what color or sexual orientation he is, his actions are pathetic and deplorable.
Ellen (Williamburg)
1. If someone pretends a tree falls in the woods, it does not negate the sound of the tree that does, nor the pile of trees already felled. 2. Why is this a leading story for days...when the reporting on the admitted White Supremacist Coast Guard guy with a list of Democrats and journalists to kill and a cache of weapons to to prove how serious was his intent, been lost in the shuffle?
PeteH (MelbourneAU)
Probably because a deranged individual with a stash of weapons is so commonplace in the USA as to barely qualify as news anymore?
Sandy Plinth (Klamath Falls OR)
Bad Actor.
brian (Midwest)
Throw the book at him.
areader (us)
Where are real hate crimes that got so much publicity?
Erica Smythe (Minnesota)
Here come the apologies from the left, in 5..4..3..2..3...4...5...never.
Maggie (U.S.A.)
@Erica Smythe Here come the apologies from knee jerking, race baiting presidential candidate senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, never. At the very least, if those two believed even one word of Smollett's dumb story, then neither of 'em is president material or much of a lawyer, he via Stanford/Yale and she from Howard/UC.
PeteH (MelbourneAU)
They're sitting around re-examining their intersectionality star-charts, wondering how they got it so wrong. I'll give you a hint - not waiting for evidence, but acting on belief.
Gabe (Boston, MA)
The so called mainstream media complains that Trump's style emboldens racists, which to a certain extent may be true. But the media (including NYTimes) does NOT want to admit that the constant, daily, tsunami of anti-Trump hate spewing can embolden the radicals on the left as well. The "...this is MAGA country..." lie played by Smollett is a perfect example of liberal extremism and brainless eco-chamber group think. Perhaps you'll get a bit humbled after this episode.
Robert Orban (Belmont, CA)
@Gabe Agreed. I hope that this (and the Covington High School episode, which was also selectively edited to whitewash the actions of the real perpetrators) prompts Dean Baquet to take a long look in the mirror, consider what his stewardship has done to the former "gray lady," the "newspaper of record," and steer the paper back so that there is a strong firewall between the "news" and "opinion" sections, as opposed to the situation today, where the entire paper seems selectively edited to cast maximum aspersions on anyone right of center.
Richard (Ft. Lauderdale)
I guess he figured he could easily pass for a "victim", being black and gay, and, like women, would "deserve to be believed". But this is the danger of creating victim classes and throwing due process overboard.
Stacy K (Sarasota, FL & Gurley, AL)
But as you can see, due process was not thrown overboard.
Baldwin (New York)
To the thousands upon thousands of people out there who have suffered injustice for the color of your skin or your sexuality or your gender: we will still take what you have to say seriously. Don't let this nonsense deter you. Ever person has the right to equal protection under the law and freedom from injustice. This is a stupid side-show that should not distract us from the crimes and injustices that occur every day.
RIR (Santa Barbara)
My son attends a university where a black woman, nearing graduation, did something similar. Other than creating bitter fighting, denunciations and recriminations among students, professors and staff, there seemed to be no purpose to the exercise. She was unmasked, did not graduate and, I believe, set the worthy cause of racial equality back a ways. Why this idiocy?
Born In The Bronx (Delmar, NY)
@RIR same exact thing happened at the University at Albany but the case involved 3 women. Campus was bitterly divided (Hillary Clinton even managed to weigh in support of the girls) and the aftermath left many deep scars.
M. Thomas (Woodinville,Wa)
@RIR, because Forest Gump said it best, "stupid is as stupid does".
jmf (NJ)
This triggers me to think of the Al Sharpton/Tawana Brawley race baiting fraud. Sharpton is the biggest hypocrite there is by saying that the Smollett should face the full consequences of the law. The fact that Sharpton is taken seriously is a bigger problem. Shame on MSNBC for giving him a platform.
Futbolistaviva (San Francisco, CA)
Never heard of this kid and never watched the show yet I always thought that this was a wretched publicity stunt created by a typical sleazy "Hollywood-like" PR company. If this version is now true and it was a "stunt", this kid's career and anyone else that collaborated with him is probably ruined and to be honest, as it should be. They could face jail time. What idiots. The worst part of this is it could deter the REAL victims of racist and homophobic attacks from coming forward.
Whatever (NH)
Oops. Looks all the identity-pols (and much of the media, including the NYT) got hoisted on their own petards... The prevailing motto seems to be, let's judge first and look at facts later.
Marie (Boston)
A pity party gone way wrong.
j24 (CT)
Wow, closed out before Al Sharpton, Alton Maddox and Vernon Mason could personally enrich themselves by inflaming and perpetuating the event.
alec (miami)
Is it a hate crime to fake a hate crime and blame another racial group ....if not, it should be.
Liberty Apples (Providence)
There's hope amid the chaos. I've never seen so many `conservatives' happy that a black guy DIDN'T get beat up. Welcome to the cause.
Andrew (Calgary)
We must remember, that we are not allowed to point a finger at Smollett. After all, he has the right credentials for exoneration: he is Black and he is gay. Immediate condemnation should only be applied to white men, because they are primordially bad people. Being white makes them bad. White IS bad. Isn't it?
J-John (Bklyn)
Had not Smollett been a celebrity, in any respectable Big-City detective bureau, his case would’ve been assigned to the Inspector Clouseau unit! Morover that units most stumbling and bumbling member would’ve solved it forthwith! This because Smollett’s story was cartoonishly nonsensical on its face! Nonsensical notwithstanding the racial identity or sexual orientation of the teller! The Gist: On one of the Windy City’s brickest morns two vile racist, homophobic MAGA Hatters decide to arm themselves with a noose and a bottle of Clorox and set out searching for victim’s in the Heart of Chicago whereupon they waylay the towns’s most noteworthy Black-Gay man who, in the wee small hours, has decided that the delectability of a Subway’s sandwich warrants braving the bitter cold winds whipping off Lake Michigan! C’mon man!!!
Margo Channing (NY)
Way to go Jussie. Knew your story was a lie from the beginning. It's too bad you're still young and you had your career more than most can say. You blew it.
Stacy K (Sarasota, FL & Gurley, AL)
He’s 36...not so young, either!
Thomas Aquinas (Ether)
What a clown, I hope he gets locked up for a long time.
marie (NYC, NY)
The choice to make this story up, if indeed he did, is so self-destructive, non-sensical, poorly-executed, and, in a word, stupid, that I can only conclude he must be mentally ill.
Avi (Texas)
Shame! Shame! Shame!
I guess it worked. I had never heard of this guy, don't know or care what Empire is. Tawana Brawley has her own Wikipedia entry and so shall he.
AGM (Bronx, NY)
Had the police superintendent been other than African American, he would have been accused of being a racist for what he said.
ChrisL (Los Angeles)
Congratulations, Jussie. You wanted to be famous. Now, your last name is a verb. Smollett: To exploit the suffering of hate crime victims for personal gain. "He staged a hate crime to smollett a higher salary."
Occupy Government (Oakland)
Maybe the stress of being black and gay and famous got to him. Can you get PTSD from living in an oppressive society?
John Jabo (Georgia)
He is the ani-Rosa Parks. So much bad will come from the selfish actions of this one cowardly individual.
Dennis Giuffre (CA)
It appears that qualifying as an idiot is non-discriminatory.
Ignatz (Upper Ruralia)
"False Flag! .....False Flag!" I bray out, modelling "fake news!!" What if...this was some elaborate "plot" to portend what and how the Mueller investigation will present as evidence and how it will show the Trump deceptions leading to impeachment..... National news involving a teevee personality (like Trump) committing a crime of some kind ( like Trump), denying and huffing and deflecting via a "Team" of lawyers (like Trump) and the long, twisted "investigation" that reveals the truth at the end...detailed nicely, step by step, on TeeVee at a press conference, by the Chief of D's in Chicago ( as Mueller will do to Congress some day about Trump)... The cameras that recorded the event, the phone logs, the video or missing video, the blame on "someone else", someone with ulterior motives ( get Trump out of office)... The light of day finally be shone on the facts, not the supposition. NOTHING here appears to be "hearsay", but having been gleaned by the recorded history of Smollett...(will be Trump's downfall too). Incontrovertible evidence that may or may not result in some jail ( not prison) time, for a minor-ish crime in the end, but he loses his great job and slinks off into the "dustbin of history". Now, when the MAGA masses cry "Fake news!", when Trump gets his day in court, they can look here to see how it's done. A white President can go down as easily as a black, gay man. And Smollet worked for FOX...How fitting is that?!?!?!?!?! Icing on MY cake!
bill (Astoria, NY)
who the heck walks the streets of Chicago with a noose in their pocket?? you're taught in acting school to find a sense of truth to whatever it is you're doing. Jussie must've been daydreaming on how to get lots of media attention.
Dry Socket (Illinois)
I meant Supt. Johnson not Jackson. Moronic prank.
Aaron (VA)
So sad and such an incredibly stupid plan, if true. I won't make the mistake of jumping to conclusions. Not only has he set every other gay and black back AND given right wingers an excuse to deny every case of racism but.... How's his salary going to be now??? Trump can't wait to say it...you're fired!
Paul Bouvier (Nyc)
Mr. Smollet you are innocent till proven guilty in a court of law. If you are found guilty you should be ashamed of yourself.
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita, Kansas)
" Hate Crimes For Dummies ". Major Fail. And, told you so. Seriously.
Bruce Savin (Montecito)
Imagine being a man of color today. In this moment in time, no one could have imagined a racist, posing as president of the USA, with Putin as his "Chief Commander", all while threatening your God given rights on a daily basis. What Smollett did was wrong, so is our current administration, and two wrongs does not make the world a better place .... "Think of your fellow man, give him a helping hand, put a little love in your heart...".
Cheryl Tunt (SF)
The only person at fault here is Jussie. Not the media, who is FINALLY treating hate crimes with appropriate space on the page. All articles I read used the proper terminology—alleged, etc—which is correct and unbiased reporting.
NYer (NYC)
The harm that idiotic antics like this do to people who actually suffer abuse, assaults, and racism, and the cover that this provides to deniers on the far right are severe and extreme. Throw the book at him! Not for anger at the stupid stunt, but for all the present and future harm his action has caused / will cause.
Steve (NY)
People do stupid things. 'Nuff said.
Jas Holden (NC USA)
Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) and Click Bait Journalism have infected most of Main Stream Media, Social Media and all of the other Leftists in our country.
WorkingGuy (NYC, NY)
Hard to know where to start…. The NYT got Al Sharpton to weigh in on Smollett (https://nyti.ms/2NfM8A5): “Public opinion, once so strongly behind Mr. Smollett, began to waver in recent days. Al Sharpton, for example, who was among the people who had initially condemned the reported attack, said that if the incident was shown to have been a hoax, those responsible “ought to face accountability to the maximum.” Sharpton? NYT: https://nyti.ms/11PAjoM Does Sharpton feel that way about Brawly or even Maddox? For that matter, the NYT needs to get Alton Maddox on the record on Smollett. We are told that false reports are rare, but they seem to garner a lot of media attention: *Hands Up, Don’t Shoot, was a lie: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/03/16/lesson-learned-from-the-shooting-of-michael-brown/?utm_term=.46df65f7967d *Target of Racist Graffiti Wrote It, Air Force Academy Says: https://nyti.ms/2jd2b6L *Muslim Woman Made Up Hate Crime on Subway, Police Say: https://nyti.ms/2hPkQzp Smollett will go on to have a career. Celebrity Big Brother. No, the media will forgive him and then his communities will follow. Like Hands Up, Smollett was telling the Truth, based on made up facts, but he was speaking the truth. Ring a bell?
Dolly Patterson (Silicon Valley)
What a jerk! I am a white, educated, financially secure, female, Democratic Centrist who has labored and contributed financially to civil rights. It infuriates me that Mr. Smollett has done so much damage to my efforts and those of so many others!
Ignorance Is Strength (San Francisco)
What a dope. Good-bye career.
SeanO (Denver)
Oh America, is it really you? Desperate for attention, hurting yourself and blaming others, all of life is a stage. See you at Starbucks.
Mark (Las Vegas)
What does it take to get a gay black leftist fired from his TV acting job? Rosanne Barr was sent packing after an politically incorrect tweet. Jussie Smollett is a product of Obama's America. I can't wait for the 2020 election so I can vote for Donald Trump.
Maria Littke (Ottawa, Canada)
@Mark so you should!
Martin X (New Jersey)
What a shame and setback for people of color and for gay men. Both will recover fully, though Smollett may not. Worse, it offers proof, undeniable evidence, of Trump's claims of "fake news" created for the purpose of discrediting himself and his supporters. In other news, a small chip fell from the Statue of Truth today, as a result of Smollet's staged controversy. We are all a slight bit the lesser for it.
NeverLift (Austin, TX)
@Martin X He acted, he was caught, he will be prosecuted, possible jailed, and his career is down the toilet (with him flushing). I'm not nearly "a slight bit the lesser." The system worked. The Statue of Truth is whole -- thanks to the intense work by the Chicago PD and the FBI.
Fred K (New York)
@Martin X It is not fake news when the media reports an incident that happens. It's fake when the media makes something up that didn't happen. This is all on Smollet.
Anne (Cincinnati, OH)
@NeverLift Not surprised you don't get the nuance, but if you were attacked and physically harmed (I'm not sure I've seen any incidence of this happening) by a non-Trump supporter, but everyone thought you were full of beans because so many people had apparently cried "wolf" about this (and maybe it's a bad example because I don't think you can find many, although we can find very many examples of people on your side attacking us) and no one believed you, how would you feel? Then, one of your own fakes being attacked and it comes out and so others won't be as easily believed, you might conclude that your cause is hurt because of all the confusion. Does that make sense? That's why it's sad. It's sad for all of us.
Johnny Orange (Chicago)
Today, Superintendent Eddie Johnson made me proud to be a Chicagoan.
Chuck (RI)
The "outrage" of *everything* is taking over our lives. Let's keep busy with what's most important in our lives and let the proper entities take care of what they're tasked with. We can't keep 'shutting down" over every "outrage". Choose your outrages wisely and get on with life.
Brian Prioleau (Austin, TX)
Is the left willing to learn anything from this?
ariella cohen (tel aviv)
It think it's quite telling that this is a bigger news story than the Coast Guard Officer that wanted to perpetrate mass murder.
Gabe (Boston, MA)
@ariella cohen Because that crazy officer did not do anything - fortunately. But Smollett actually carried out his scam on prime time TV.
Dennis (California)
Before all this started, I’d never heard of him or his tv show, and frankly I’d like to return to that state of consciousness. A pampered well paid snowflake extortionist. Yeah we needed another one of those. Send him to D.C. to be with others of his ilk and he’ll blend right in.
Oliver (New York, NY)
The police superintendent said they have the checks that were written to the two African men. If this is true then I don’t know what else to say than to say how can someone stage a hoax and leave a paper trail?
Dee (Los Angeles, CA)
First of all, who goes out for a subway sandwich when it's 2 in the morning and below freezing? That seemed implausible to me, especially for an actor who probably has his kitchen stocked. And, secondly, he still had the noose around his neck when the police showed up? Duh?
Pam (Texas)
He is the new poster child for racism. No idea how this could secure him an increase in salary, but I see it as definitely a hate crime against conservatives.
Lisamugg. (Windsor, CT)
The very first time I heard about this story I had a bad feeling in my gut. There was just too much to the story; noose, bleach in the face, beat up, homophobic and race hate comments. Randomly at 2AM. If it's random how did they know he was gay? If it wasn't random was it supposed to be people who staked out his building for weeks while he was out of town. It never added up.
Aaron Michelson (Illinois)
Now we need a list of every single (dim witted and bigoted) politician who jumped on the bandwagon of this story to support this hoax/crime. Shame on all of them. This story was not as bad as Covington but it still shows the idiocy of many on the left. Thank you NYT for covering this crime and restoring some respect from independents like myself.
Koho (Santa Barbara, CA)
Interesting but predictable to see the right pile on the "liberal media." I followed this from the beginning and don't find much to complain about as far as what was covered and how it was conveyed as the facts were revealed. Aside from early opinion pieces that fawned over Smollett it was pretty much factual reporting. The meta-story lies elsewhere.
D Kell (Atlanta)
@Koho just one example https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1090491674575454208?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.foxnews.com%2Fpolitics%2Fpoliticians-backtracking-over-jussie-smollett-comments
Rachel Schmidt (NY)
I think this entire case is appalling. Today in America, the issue of hatred towards racial minorities, especially blacks, and those in the LGBTQ+ community is so prevalent, and is an issue that as a nation we all must work to eradicate. The idea that Smollett would use genuine problems as a media stunt to increase his own publicity and salary is, to me, a disgusting misuse of fame and personal identity. Smollett certainly knew that falsely claiming this attack would garner the attention and sympathy of the media, while prompting an outpour of support towards him. Issues of hatred against races and sexualities is a real issue in America, and the idea that someone would take a genuine problem and, disregarding the real issue, use it as a publicity stunt shows the depth of his ignorance and his lack of respect towards members of his own communities who have actually had to deal with discrimination and physical assault due to their identities.
NeverLift (Austin, TX)
@Rachel Schmidt What you are describing is neatly summarized: Smollett is a racist.
Neverdoubt (SE Portland OR)
@Rachel Schmidt Well said and I agree. It also speaks to some deep-seeded pathology on Smollett’s part, particularly narcissism and manipulative behavior.
@Rachel Schmidt "Today in America, the issue of hatred towards racial minorities, especially blacks, and those in the LGBTQ+ community is so prevalent, and is an issue that as a nation we all must work to eradicate." Perhaps, however, this particular case highlights the hatred towards Trump and his supporters in the news media (and certain liberal circles). They fall for even transparent hoaxes* that play into their prejudices about Trump supporters. *Almost everything about this case didn't smell right from the very beginning.
JayGee (New York)
Congratulations Jussie! You're primed and right on time. This acting thing may not work out but we think with your name recognition and pedigree, you check all the right boxes for the Oval Office. And we may even have an opening! Smollett 2020!! Sincerely, RNC
I don’t believe for one second that he did it because he was upset about his salary. How ridiculous. Nor do I believe that’s what he told the police. It’s the story his lawyers told the police.
Paul (Kansas)
The first version of this tall tale was so laughable that my friends and I were stunned that anyone with two working brain cells took it seriously. The red flags were flying on it! First, Chicago is hardly MAGA terriority. Secondly, I don't think anyone with a MAGA hat would be walking around in sub-zero temperatures at 2 a.m., especially in a dark and dangerous-looking street. The rest of the story also made no sense at all. Sad that he, it appears, made this whole thing up. It's almost as pathetic that he could even put the effort -- or thought -- into coming up with a better story.
Pete in Downtown (back in town)
Again, with the qualifier that Mr. Smollet is currently accused, but not (yet?) convicted of filing a false police report, here another aspect to the whole sorry affair: The two brothers who Mr. Smollet identified as his assailants are immigrants from Nigeria. Now, unless both of them have already become naturalized citizens, even just being indicted for a serious crime (hate crimes certainly qualify) can be grounds for deportation. Now, I don't know the immigration status of the two (wrongfully) accused brothers, but if Mr. Smollett did what he is now accused of doing, he really played fast and loose with the fate of those two in a big way. Something else to consider.
Ben (Pittsburgh, PA)
Perhaps more than anything, this demonstrates how celebrities aren't the greatest "role models." They will always exhibit some degree of ego and narcissism in what they say and do because it's their nature as performers. Some celebrities may mature beyond their fame to become more balanced individuals. But Smollett is young and immature, and clearly, his ego and self-importance got the better of him. We shouldn't base our respect and admiration for people we've never met on who they are or what they say. We should base it on what they do. We must always temper our perceived "admiration" with reality. As for Smollett, here's what will follow. First, a "very special episode" of his TV series in which he'll be written out. Then, therapy. Then, a tearful public apology. All of which will be meaningless. If he's to return to favor, he needs to behave in ways that people can admire. He's young, so there's still plenty of time. I just hope he has other skills because I doubt he'll get work as an actor any time soon.
Melanie (Charlottesville, VA)
I'm glad I was one of the doubters, and here’s why: I don’t feel disappointed it’s not true. There are some who were hoping it *was* true, and I can understand why. We want the world, or at least our tiny corner, to make sense. We want the obvious to be obvious again. We want the promise of warmth when it’s cold, but it’s hard to get cozy in a blanket of rough gray areas. Cognitive dissonance is mighty itchy. Once a person gets comfortable feeling a bit uncomfortable, he can face the truth more squarely, and the future more bravely.
Diego (NYC)
The shocking truth is that a lot of actors aren't so witty and charming when they don't have a script in their hands.
Pono (Big Island)
After watching the video of Chicago police Supt. Eddie T. Johnson there is one thing that is very obvious. The Chicago police leadership is genuinely upset about Smollett's actions and the resources they had to put into chasing down his fraud. Johnson's tone and body language also make it clear that he is totally disgusted and appalled that Smollett used the noose as a prop. Smollett has managed to upset the authorities on just about every level possible. This does not bode well for him in court.
Christina Gordon (South Carolina)
Mr. Smollett: As a fan of Empire I have watched you evolve as a thespian. The show had record ratings not because of the glitz and glamour but because it resonated with fans on so many levels. Your hit song " Battle Cry" sent shivers down my spine and moved me to tears. The pain, passion, and urgency in your lyrics were simply profound. The imagery showcased in the song spoke to the urgency facing our community. Now sadly there is a new battle cry, a cry that seeks justice for the wrong you have committed. My heart aches that because of you we have taken the proverbial two steps back, only you can make this right.
Cary Fleisher (San Francisco)
Maybe now we will learn to wait for a trial before we judge. Probably not.
Stephen Bennett (Connecticut)
Would love to know how much his salary was, to get an idea of what he deems unsatisfactory.
Blue State Buddha (Chicago)
$20,000 per episode is what I heard.
Deborah Robinson (Aiken, SC)
I stayed away from this one because the story was so bizarre. We want to believe victims of violence because the alternative hurts all victims. But to suspend all critical thought is a recipe for disappointment and causing further public harm. Take all of the screaming, race baiting, homophobia, politics and hysteria out of this and it's a story of one man who obviously has some issues. I don't know what he went through to get here but I hope he gets some help.
Bashh (Philadelphia, Pa.)
@Deborah Robinson I stayed away from the story because I never heard of Jussie Smollett. Sorry Jussie, now the only reason I will ever know your name is because you may have pulled a despicable stunt like this.
Tony (Florida)
We have come full circle in America when hate crimes are staged. It goes to show that for large numbers of people, of any race or ethnicity, racism is a thing of the past that can be mocked regardless of its still all too real existence for those caught in its ring of poverty, exclusion and despair. Mr. Smolett needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And perhaps importantly we need to look at how we treat hate crime in America where folks loose their jobs for decades old stunts and fake MAGA hate articles abound. Real racism begins when you make fun of the concept to begin with. Shame on you Mr Smolett.
NC (Fort Lauderdale)
If a doctor or lawyer commits a felony, I do not think they are allowed to continue in their profession. If he is found guilty of a felony, i hope to never see him again acting.
John Harrington (On The Road)
Unlike many others, I am of the very strong opinion there is nothing to take as a broader conversation, or a so-called teaching moment, from this sorry episode. Smollett went to the core of people's emotions regarding the horrors of lynchings, racial hatred, hatred of gay men and many other areas that are sparking hate in this country today - MAGA spouting angry White men - he went for the whole enchilada. He needs to be jailed and we all need to forget about this selfish man. What we can learn is that this is wrong on every level. I'm angry and I can reveal a major reason of why I am so angry. I covered the 1993 cold blooded murder of Douglass Koehler, a 31-year-old gay man in a parking lot of a Utah ski resort during the off season. Douglass thought he'd made a connection with a guy named David Thacker in a pub at the base of the ski resort that was frequented by local Park City workers. They went out to the parking lot together and Douglass was shot in the head and killed. The motive was: Douglass had come on to Thacker. In one of the great injustices of all time, the judge on the case, David Young, a Mormon descendant of Brigham Young, reduced the sentence of Thacker to a mere six years. Read it and weep. I know I did when it happened. https://www.nytimes.com/1994/08/17/us/judge-draws-protests-after-cutting-sentence-of-gay-man-s-killer.html Smollett desecrates the spirits of Douglass Koehler, Matt Shephard and countless other victims of hate crimes. Shame!
Born In The Bronx (Delmar, NY)
@John Harrington Every time I think of Matt Shephard, I start to cry. It’s truly terrible that Jussie played this for more money. Sickening.
PamJ (Georgia)
Millennials. Don't know anything, don't want to know anything other than it's all about me and myself.
Discerning (Planet Earth)
Sad to see so much potential and talent deeply damaged by this twisted act. Jussie appears to be a psychologically troubled young man, and also extremely selfish and narcissistic. I feel sorry for him, but also feel he should receive serious punishment. Meanwhile, he should admit what he has done publicly, apologize profusely, and make reparations to the police for all the effort they put into this false report of a hate crime. And maybe some public service too...
art josephs (houston, tx)
Jussie needs to plead innocent by reason of temporary insanity caused by Trump Derangement Syndrome. It might work with a Chicago jury. His bigger problem is using the US Mail to send that terror hoax letter. That could involve some real jail time.
Ann (Dallas)
This does not make the case for not believing actual victims. What this illustrates is how skilled law enforcement is in recognizing false accusations.
the_turk (Dallas)
Well he got the publicity
Baako (Chicago)
I thought we live in a country where people are proven to be gulity not proven ro be innocent. No trial no supporting evidence but what two brothers told the police and we all believe that this is a hoax. Sorry I'm not trusting the Chicago police don't anyone remeber they tried to cover up a boy being shot 14 times in the past?
Shamrock (Westfield)
@Baako What do you say when he pleads guilty and issues an apology?
obee (here)
Jussie Smollett, the poster child of far left identity politics.
Maggie (U.S.A.)
@obee If Smollett wasn't gay, he and AOC could date and have lots of little behaviorally + IQ challenged political identities.
What was he thinking? It’s incomprehensible.
Me (wherever)
Good old fashioned capitalism and marketing. (half-sarcasm)
Scott (Los Angeles)
The fact that epic fool Jussie Smollett thought he could get away with such an outlandish plot, lie repeatedly about it, accuse his doubters of racism and blame "45" for it to ignorant journalists and celebrities, speaks volumes about our current society's absurd obsession with race and anti-Trump sentiment. It's a form of prejudice in itself. I see people I know on Facebook posting several times or more a day about their hatred for Donald Trump. They are the most likely to rush to judge on Smollett, Covington, etc. without facts beyond social media posts. It's OCD. It's not healthy. It's insanity.
Rose (Tx)
Greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
Jack (Middletown, Connecticut)
Well his career is over. Sad now that people will second guess every claim of racial attacks. Sad that he thought this was a good idea and no one would figure it out.
Eric (Jersey City)
What this guy did was idiotic and shameful but let’s take a look at the group think psychology at play here. Our society both left, right and center is fixated on how current events can be spun to serve an agenda. Each side is guilty to varying degrees. The straight reporting of this “assault” when it occurred is above criticism. The media should report facts (ie police reports). The problem is how uniquely perfect the assault of a gay black man fit within the narrative so many people want to spin. I’m as liberal as the next guy, but the issue politics that saturates our political aisle is problematic and I’m actually hopeful this series of events causes those on the left that wish to turn every slight into a cause du jour to pick their battles more carefully.
Randall (Portland, OR)
@Eric This is typical of every conservative (if you have to tell people you're liberal, you're not): blame the media for reporting the facts at the time. Police reports are not "facts." Laquan McDonald's murder proves that.
JLC (Seattle)
@Eric Sorry, but those who are concerned about MAGA/Trump rhetoric and the violence it engenders have a point. We have now witnessed many crimes and killings committed in the name of white supremacy and racist thinking - a direct line from the violence that is espoused by this very group. This is just another "both sides" comment. The violence -"rhetorical" calls for arming conservatives, disparaging racial and LGBTQ groups, racist exclusion and mentions of light genocide - that is coming overwhelmingly from the right. This stunt was unfortunate, but it doesn't change that.
Sarah (NYC)
@Eric I think both sides need to pull away from the 'cause du jour' (great expression) way of life. Both political extremes are cherry picking dramas to suit their issues and then blowing them out of proportion. It's a dangerous trend for this country.
Creighton Goldsmith (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Is Roger Stone his PR consultant?
Michael B (New Orleans)
I never heard of Mr. Smollett until his noose-assault story broke. On its initial telling, the story was disquieting. But as details began to emerge, the story became increasingly incredulous. Facts like the time of night, the frigid weather, the cell phone call, the lack of personal property being taken, the report that his attackers seemed to know just who he was, the lack of witnesses and video evidence. And the sandwich itself, which he apparently kept in his grasp all the while. All added up, none of the many details added up, none embellished his credibility. Nocturnal muggings are common in Chicago, as they are in many other large cities. Mostly, muggings are property crimes -- "Give me your money and your cell phone!" Mr. Smollett reportedly was talking on his cell phone at the time of his attack, yet he didn't tell his caller that he was being attacked, or ask him to call the cops. And the muggers didn't take his cell phone, even though it was right there in his hand. And Mr. Smollett would have us believe that he clung tightly to both his cell phone and his sandwich, all while the muggers pummelled him and put a noose around his neck? Most people would have dropped both and used both hands to strongly resist such a noosing. Mr. Smollett seems to have passively accepted being noosed, and continued to wear it until the police arrived, much later. Who does that? Taken as a whole, his story just never made sense. So now we see it was all a lie.
Lisa T (New York, NY)
Not happy with your salary? Are you happy with your salary now Jussie?
Brasto (Minneapolis)
Smollett made fools of the liberal media with their rush to judgement. Just like w/the Covington Catholic High School student public's trust of the media cannot get much lower
Susan (Paris)
I find it incredible that not just Mr. Smollett but his two accomplices could so underestimate the investigative abilities of police detectives and so overestimate their abilities to carry out the perfect crime. Mr. Smollett’s story was as full of as many holes as Swiss cheese.
Rick Barry (California)
Good luck to him when he ends up with all the other losers and B-listers on Dancing with the Stars.
Kurt (Chicago)
Somehow, in my mind, this guy is every bit as detestable as Martin Shkreli or Dick Cheney. The stupidity, the pathetic narcissism, the selfishness, the hypocrisy of it all is so infuriating.
Mark (United States)
All Smollett did was just a more blatantly stupid form of the usual race-hustling gig.
Antonio (Maine)
Always a victim..
Marko (Vancouver)
Wow. Talk about a noosance.
Francis (Florida)
The country in which I spent a large part of my younger years was about 90% and more populated by descendants of slaves. Much like the USA it had been a plantation society. It was segregated. We had a White Peoples club. The teachers,Head Boys, scholarship winners, Police chiefs and others were mostly black (the term then was negro). The liars, thieves and other charlatans known to me, then in Grammar School were predominantly black. This Smollett guy is a fool whom is about to become a punchline in one of those stories about forgetting where one comes from. Words fail me. I hope that he pays the full price for his idiotic folly...very likely not his first venture.
Merlin (Atlanta GA)
How does your childhood story even relate to the Smollett stupidity? Not clear. However, you have stated that the country of your youth was 90% descendants of slaves, that is, black. Logically, it follows then that 90% of "liars, thieves and other charlatans" would be black. Right? But you have conveniently ignored the flip side of that picture, which is that statistically, 90% of the people who are NOT "liars, thieves and other charlatans" would also be black. You have chosen to see the negative rather than overwhelming positive in people based on skin color. You probably do not see yourself as racist, but you have just made a racist comment. Just own up to it.
Meh (East Coast)
This was bad. But before the right gets all high and mighty, black men have repeatedly been falsely accused of rape by white women and other crimes they didn't commit because whites know they'll be believed. Whites have used black men as scapegoats throughout history, often getting them killed. Emmett Till Leiha Ann-Sue Artman (Michigan) Scottsboro Boys Susanne Smith Amanda Knox Charles Stuart etc. etc. etc.
Maggie (U.S.A.)
@Meh Oh, stop. Your identity politics undeveloped frontal lobe is just as bad as Smollet's. Men of all races have used all races of people (mostly the women and children) as scapegoats and shields throughout history, often getting those victims killed. Want to be a social justice warrior, then go fix the virulent, detestable rape, genocide and slavery still in Africa that is 100% committed by African men.
DAB (Houston)
@Meh Please. It's not your turn Meh.
J (Denver)
The media has a ton of problems and of course Trump is terrible leader... But they have nothing to do with the stupid choice this guy made. Way to set everyone back even further, Jussie...
dave fucio (Montclair NJ)
Dear NYTimes: Please explain why this is front page material, while the story about that white supremacist and his plan for slaughter is buried?
Jeremy (Bay Area)
This is kind of a throwback to when we seemingly had nothing better to talk about than bizarre celebrity news. And while I understand the supposed news value of celebrity doings, even in the Trump era, it's a shame that this is sucking up so much oxygen. Yesterday they busted a Coast Guard officer who wanted to go around killing people he disagreed with. Hate groups are mushrooming. One bizarre decision by a celebrity knocked that stuff out of the conversation. Because of all this coverage, Jussie Smollett will become exhibit A in the right-wing's deployment of the availability heuristic* to justify its victim narrative. His attempted frame-up will be treated as equivalent to a thwarted plan to carry out a mass-killing. *Availability is a heuristic whereby people make judgments about the likelihood of an event based on how easily an example, instance, or case comes to mind. For example, investors may judge the quality of an investment based on information that was recently in the news, ignoring other relevant facts (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). https://www.behavioraleconomics.com/resources/mini-encyclopedia-of-be/availability-heuristic/
Born In The Bronx (Delmar, NY)
Wow - he wanted a better salary. Worse than I could have imagined. I was trying to give him a mental health slide. What if an innocent person had been insnared in his hoax? Would he have let them go to jail? Throw the book at him. How stupid, greedy and selfish can a person be?
Brewster Millions (Santa Fe, N.M.)
The real story here is the racial hypocrisy of Democrats Kamala, Bernie, Cory, and Kirsten. They each chose to shoot as fast as they could without consideration of any facts and without asking any questions.
Margo (Atlanta)
And Nancy Pelosi.
DAB (Houston)
@Brewster Millions They all don't matter much and are going nowhere...
DAB (Houston)
@Margo Let's hire that Coast Guard guy.
Emily (Larper)
Fake hate crimes are now more common than real ones. http://www.fakehatecrimes.org/
Steve (NYC)
Why is this story about an actor above the story of the coast guard member who had a hit list out for every liberal politician and newscaster out there? What happened to you NYT? Do you need me to teach you journalism 101 again? You already screwed up 2016 in an effort to be fair when we literally had the most unqualified person ever run for president in Trump!
Dave (Grand Rapids MI)
Tawanna Brawley
James (Savannah)
Guy obviously has emotional problems. Until they’re addressed: no more acting jobs offered, please.
Pecan (Grove)
@James Many actors, comedians, etc. have "emotional problems." Some of them attribute their success to those difficulties. This could be Jussie's breakthrough.
James (Savannah)
@Pecan Haha. Right. Should have specified “emotional problems which significantly worsen an already compromised cultural calamity.”
Covert (Houston tx)
What a mess. I didn’t jump on the bandwagon of outrage for him or about him. Hopefully people will learn from this, and sensibly wait until the facts are available.
The bigger lesson here is not to believe everything you hear or see. Especially in the coming months of investigations and elections this story shows how vigilant we must remain and how wary we should be until we have all the facts. Both the left and the right will seize on any situation that supports them but the wise person will remain dispassionate and wait for the facts.
How many of us find ourselves underpaid? And yet, we don't go around wasting police resources on non-existent crimes, coopting real victimhood, and manipulating public sentiment.
N8t (Out Wes)
This will be an excellent case study in the equality/inequality of consequences for manufacturing a fake crisis. The resources wasted and lost on chasing a fake emergency should not be lost on any American. Real problems and crisis were ignored and overlooked because so many resources were brought to bare in solving this non-crisis crisis.
Jonathan Katz (St. Louis)
In Hollywood, all publicity is good publicity. Even bad publicity. The goal is to get a name in the newspaper. For what, doesn't matter. People buy tickets to see someone they have heard of, and forget, or don't care whether they heard of him as a hero or a criminal.
Pete in Downtown (back in town)
If it's proven that the events unfolded as now alleged by the Chicago authorities, Mr. Smollett deserves the full punishment provided by the applicable laws. Not so much for the deed itself, but for the harm a stunt like this does to the many actual victims of bias and hate crimes who are often already hesitant to come forward and file a report. Stories like this increase the likelihood of actual crimes not being reported by the victims for fear of not being believed, and for reported and real crimes to be doubted or dismissed.
rpe123 (Jacksonville, Fl)
Smollett's virulent hatred of Trump supporters is textbook bigotry and prejudice: smear a large group based on the actions of a tiny few. There are some very bad people on both sides. But most on both sides have their hearts in the right place. You would hope that more people on the left would be careful not to repeat the sins of history. But bigotry and prejudice is mainstream on the left and made worse by a complicit media.
K. Johnson (Seattle Is a Liberal Mess)
Where do the lies live? When do we, us Americans, who have repeatedly watched our national reputation and sense of quiet decency be dragged into the gutter, stomped on, hung without recourse, our horror at such things bleached white, get an apology from Mr. Smollett who knowingly and willingly bore false witness against us, who mere days ago we viewed, because of his God given talents, as a point of pride, gay or not? When too, do we, us Americans, who were forced to sit mute, accused implicitly at times, explicitly at others of hating our fellow man, receive an apology from the cynical, self serving media industry and other public voices, which in turn provoked and stoked the national twitter lynch mob, again, with Mr. Smollett's fabrications and falsehoods? Where do the lies live? Are we not supposed to shout truth to power at such times and against such things deemed fake and false? Why is it so quiet now at this time and place? I dare hazard that it is because there is no power in truth anymore.
John (USA)
Kudos to the NYT for providing coverage of this event as it has evolved. This is why we need a free media that is able to self correct and report as facts are provided and not steered by political influence.
@John I do hope you are joking. The lack of true journalistic scrutiny given to this claim was ludicrous.
jaco (Nevada)
One thing good came out of this - we all have a data point on presidential candidates who are too quick to rush to judgement.
@jaco Kamala Harris in particular should be immediately dropped from all consideration. She was DA for the City of San Francisco, AND Attorney General for the State of California? Her lack of basic critical thinking and reason is mind-boggling.
Bruce Klutchko (New York City)
The handling of this case seems unexpected from a police force in the beleaguered city that has struggled often and been in the news so frequently. The Chicago Police Force deserves kudos for its handling of this case. From the very beginning, they treated the complainant with respect and dignity. They did not allow the inconsistencies in the case to overcome their better judgment; the police force showed no evidence of bias or incompetence. Rather, they were very professional and sensitive to the concerns of all the communities involved. When they reached the conclusion that Smollett would be charged with a felony, they placed the crime in context and showed concern for legitimate victims of violence and hate in Chicago. This is an all too rare episode of the police in Chicago acquitting themselves very well, and this should be one of the main takeaways from this case.
Richard (Pittsburgh)
Am I the only person who reads this as a cry for help from a disturbed individual who happens to be famous?
Wine Country Dude (Napa Valley)
@Richard Not literally the only one, no. But close
@Richard No, a selfish, self-centered, and momey-grubbing individual who concocted a con game to extract money from his employer. A grifter, to be exact. "...a cry for help"? Rubbish.
Margo Channing (NY)
@Richard Yes. I read this as an opportunist who thought he could fool everyone (almost did) with a story so full of holes that anyone could have figured it out, except for a few pols that jumped on the bandwagon all too eagerly. Silly politicians. He did it for publicity and a raise.
Evan (Chicago, IL)
Jussie Smollett appears to have been motivated by an anticipated career boost as a result of having been victimized. The question that is not being analyzed in the media that so quickly rushed to support his unbelievable story is why exactly being the victim of such an attack would grant that status. Smollett wasn't after sympathy or to prove a point in which the ends justified the means. According to the CPD, he believed he would profit from this hoax. The image of victimhood promoted by the media has become such a lucrative currency that Smollett felt incentivized to meet an overwhelming demand. He didn't reach the conclusion that this was a profitable endeavor on his own.
C Nelson (Canon City, CO)
This whole sorry episode would be a non-story - - - except that the mainstream media and radical progressives who are obsessed with Identity Politics must now deal with a juicy story involving racism, but which fails to support their much-revered narrative.
Kathryn (Kalamazoo, MI)
Well, I guess I'm one of the few people who views the Chicago police department with skepticism. I'm not going to trust only their word on Jussie Smollett. I'm not saying that Smollett didn't do this. However, I think that people should view anything the Chicago police department says critically and objectively. Over the years, the city of Chicago has paid tens of millions of dollars in settlements and reparations because of the actions of police officers. For anyone who hasn't seen it, I recommend reading the U.S. Justice department's "Investigation of the Chicago Police Department" released in 2017. https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/925846/download
Margo Channing (NY)
@Kathryn He gave himself up to the Chicago Police. Good enough for me.
@Kathryn And what precisely did the CPD do in this case that wasn't up to your standards? Name us ONE THING.
Dave (Sacramento)
I wonder what Smollett would have done if some innocent young men had been arrested, charged, and sentenced to prison in the matter. Would he have continued the scam and allow innocent people to sit in prison? How many years would he have continued to cry victim? Selfish.
Deb (Funkytown)
While somewhat credible, I found his 'performance' less than compelling when interviewed by Robin Roberts about this hoax. Christine Blasey Ford's account before the Senate Judicial Committee comes to mind...
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
It does seem that this was a little skit to elicit attention to help with his career. He’s going to be convicted of a felony, most likely, but he will be a famous actor going into the future. If he has any real talent, it will help his career.
Martini (Los Angeles)
Do you live in the same Los Angeles as I do? Because if this guy is guilty, he will never work in this town again.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
@Martini Yeah, he's angered people, but just watch how the conversation goes back to the terrible epidemic of racist incidents with his stunt soon being an example of how concerns about it even allow fake incidents to be believed. The right will try to trivialize the issue by citing this hoax. That will shift the conversation back to the epidemic of racist incidents and this hoax will be last thing that will be mentioned except by the right.
Jackie (Hamden, CT)
One question: why is the story the lead over the Coast Guard Captain's assassination and biological warfare plot? I'm not saying that Smollett's curdled, selfish deed doesn't deserve critical reportage--particularly to repair the damage done by the too-swift-to-check-sources-and-wait-for-corroborated-evidence that initial news stories failed to gather. However, Smollett's act of public self-immolation is not of the same magnitude as Paul Hasson's alleged plot to kill an entire cohort of politicians and journalists--not to mention the many thousands Hasson apparently hoped to wipe out through a plague-scale act of biological warfare. In this instance, the Times' coverage is off point. One of these stories is of more consequence to the nation than the other. and should be presented to readers as such. And it's not Smollett's.
MDB (Indiana)
What is truly unforgivable about Smollett’s actions is that there will now be some suspicion and doubt about the very existence of hate crimes, as well as on those people who have been victims of those crimes. Their pain and suffering have just increased hundredfold. Hate or bias crime — no matter who is the target —needs to be honestly and thoroughly discussed and addressed in this society. Smollett’s selfishness just set back — immensely — the dialogue on this very deadly issue. I can hear it now, when a gay couple is beaten, a synagogue is vandalized or burned, or an African-American is murdered: “Hate crime? No such thing! Look at Jussie Smollett!”
Stratman (MD)
Now Jussie can have some peace, knowing the orchestrator if this attack as been apprehended and charged.
Joachim (Réunion)
Well, in any case it worked! I never heard of this guy before. Until today. He’s a celebrity alright. Let this keep him warm at night in his prison cell.
Marvin (California)
There should be a hate crime enhancement allowed for faking a hate crime.
Jay (Cleveland)
While people are paying attention to the Chicago crime, the FBI has yet to charge Smollett on the Federal crime. His attorneys may be able to negotiate a short or no sentence and fine in Chicago. A federal court will not be so sympathetic. He has nothing to claim as mitigating, and pages of aggravating circumstances surrounding his terroristic letter with white powder. Jussie is going away, for at least 3 seasons, to a federal penitentiary.
b fagan (chicago)
There is genuine racism in Chicago, like in the rest of the country. But we've also had our share of false reports. The white guy in from Iowa who alleged he was robbed by black men who also yelled slurs comes to mind. Eventually he confessed that he'd made it up (putting people's lives at risk for his stunt). This felt a bit the same. The Streeterville neighborhood here downtown - "this is MAGA country"? Not a believable thing.
Randy B (Dallas, TX)
Where Booker and Harris equivocate, FINALLY we have a black voice with some real authority exhibiting real leadership on this shameful attack on Chicago and the psyche of our entire nation. SHAME on Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and all the lefty politicians and celebrities that have danced around Mr. Smollett's guilt. It will be their undoing in their presidential bids, Thank God.
marieka (baltimore)
The writer has completely ignored the homophobic issues here. Mr. Smollett has done the same to the LGBTQ community as he has to the African American community. His exploitation of his "victimhood" can cast doubt on true victims of hate crimes. I hope there is some way to make him ashamed of himself.
momanddoc (Cleveland)
This is a huge disservice to the LGBTQ community and it's supporters. It makes a mockery of the real problems LGBTQ Folks face every day. Furthermore, even though I am anti MAGA, I object to smearing MAGA.supporters.. They do not need help. I say LOCK HIM UP! Right, Left or Center, Black or White this is NOT okay
I had never heard of Jussie Smollett before but read the news of his attack and was outraged! This is very upsetting that self interest would lead someone to stage such an attack. I hope never to hear of Jussie Smollett again.
Margo Channing (NY)
@LT Yes he'll be remembered but not in a good way.
Amanda Jones (Chicago)
Mistaken belief that the world of TV and world of police reality are the same worlds---which, when he gets before a Chicago Judge, Mr. Smollett will get a lesson in how different these worlds are.
Casey Penk (NYC)
While we all engage in youthful indiscretions, and deserve a chance for apology and forgiveness, this incident unfortunately undermines the stories of the many, many people who have been discriminated against and attacked due being Black, gay, or both. Mr. Smollett has acted incredibly irresponsibly and owes an apology to those who are actually suffering at the hands of bigotry. He needs to make amends immediately and explain why he engaged in this stunt so we can direct our resources to combatting real discrimination.
Cate (California)
When he was 25 and pleaded guilty for giving LAPD his younger brother’s name after being arrested for a DUI and driving without a license, that could be chalked up as youthful indiscretion. At age 36 and with a prior conviction for lying to police... that is a disturbing habit. If found guilty, I hope he gets some psychological help, and pays restitution.
Katie (Atlanta)
@Casey Penk Is 36 now categorized as youthful indiscretion territory? Even if it is, which is laughable on its face, an indiscretion is by definition a minor offense. Do you term plunging America further into racial acrimony; defaming millions of Trump supporters; wasting untold Chicago police hours on a non-existing crime; and further bolstering the notion that “victim” is the highest accolade one can achieve in modern America a mere indiscretion? Stop trying to minimize what Jussie Smollett is accused to have done while ostensibly criticizing him. #JailTimeForJussie
Anonymous (USA)
One of the tragedies of modern progressive thought in the United States is that, by degrees, we have associated various types of critical thinking with oppression. Consider: Americans only use phrases like "due process" because of landmark Supreme Court rulings that were deeply progressive (Miranda etc). But in 2019, "due process" is often dismissed as a sinister concept that exists to protect rape culture. You can apply this to dozens of formerly progressive ideals, values, methods, etc. The Jussie Smollett case is not surprising. I'm sure he feels strongly that the bigotry behind such attacks is real, and that exposing it by any means is valid, even if that means staging a crime. As a professional, I personally have had to engage with University students who have posted hate-speech on campus not because they believed it, but because they were lacking an immediate real-life example to condemn. They also saw themselves as the good guys. We need to do better. But then, "doing better" is likely to be attacked as "respectability politics." You see the problem.
@Anonymous - Except he seems not to have done this to expose bigotry. He used the reality of bigotry to further his own interests (fame and money).
Anthony Sahadi (Washington D.C.)
Very bad choices made by Mr. Smollett. I thought the Chicago Police handled with professionalism. As a nation, we really need to gather the truth first before judgement and conclusions are made. Yet, another bad example of many offering opinions and judgement before Mr. Smollett, Police, and those involved had their say and case investigated.
Ashley (Columbia SC)
Is showing support and empathy for someone who reported a horrible attack identity politics, or the right's near instance stance of foul play? There was no reason not to believe this attack occurred as originally reported at the time. Smollett did something horrible and the Chicago police did an exemplary job getting to the bottom of it, and yes, people do need to wait until the facts are in before making a judgement. That being said, it wasn't blind identity politics that let to the outpouring of support for Smollett and the response he got is the response any victim should get until the evidence says otherwise.
Katie (Atlanta)
@Ashley Actually, there was every reason not to believe this attack occurred as originally reported and many who outwardly supported Smollett have now admitted that they had their internal doubts from the beginning. Mr. Smollett claimed that the attack happened on an historically cold night at 2:00 am. Those MAGA types were super motivated to be hanging around a sandwich shop hoping an easy target would walk along in Chicago at 2:00 in the morning. Further, Mr. Smollett claimed to have held onto both his phone (conveniently connected to his manager)and his Subway sandwich throughout a brutal attack. Also, his injuries weren’t too bad for having supposedly been attacked by two men. Hmm. Finally, when cell phone records could have completely bolstered Mr. Smollett’s claims, he refused to share said records with the police and instead produced a highly edited call printout with no evidentiary value. One shouldn’t need to set aside all common sense and logic in order to believe a crime occurred.
A (On This Crazy Planet)
There are several potential outcomes but two of the more concerning may be that a) if Smollett needs police assistance in the future, they may not take him seriously, b) the police and the authorities, who are already overworked and have a difficult job, now are left wondering whether or not what they're responding to is a real situation or staged. A waste of resources.
@A - Indded, Smollett cried wolf.
Unpresidented (Los Angeles)
The Chicago Police Department deserves great credit for conducting itself and its handling of this case with prudence and professionalism. Their public statements were consistently restrained and cautious, carefully avoiding any provocation. This standard of conduct should be held up as a model for police departments across the country.
Hello (Texas)
He should be arrested, fired from his job and held accountable to the full extent of the law. His actions have done so much to undermine legitimate victims who know may not come forward for fear of not being believed. I never believed his allegations from the get-go, and felt they were motivated by selfishness--I am sorry I was correct on this matter.
say what (NY,NY)
I am sure this did wonders for negotiating a new salary; it is now 0.
Greater Metropolitan Area (Just far enough from the big city)
One of those things that seemed like a great idea at the time. Ah, youth.
RJ's (Kid)
@Greater Metropolitan Area He's 36 years old.
Katie (Atlanta)
@Greater Metropolitan Area. Does the age of 36 fall under the “youth” category? When, in your estimation, is one considered to have achieved full adulthood and to be held to the responsibilities thereof?
Margo Channing (NY)
@Greater Metropolitan Area He's 36 y/o old enough to know better.
See also