Was It All a Hoax?

The Jussie Smollett Story

Jae-Kur Lockhart, Opinions Editor

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As reported on January 29 of this year, Empire actor, Jussie Smollett, was assaulted earlier that morning in Chicago. It was believed that the crime was motivated by racism and homophobia.

Smollett was ambushed outside of a restaurant in Chicago by two men, who at the time, were unidentified that allegedly approached him yelling homophobic and racial slurs. During this altercation, the suspects poured what is believed to be bleach on Smollett, physically attacked him, and then tied a rope around his neck.

Smollett had to receive medical treatment for his injuries that he sustained from the attack.

Roughly three weeks since the attack, Jussie Smollett’s story is being called into question and in doing so, enraging and confusing those that were in support of Smollett.

Immediately following his attack, it was met with a wide outpour of love and support from the LGBTQ community and other celebrities such as Empire co-star Taraji Henson.  What was once a situation of empathy and support has now become an investigation that not only investigates the attackers, but also the victim.

It is believed that Smollett orchestrated his own attack and also sent himself a threatening letter prior to the assault. Jussie Smollett stands firmly beside his statements that he in indeed the victim of a hate crime and has nothing to do with planning an attack on himself.

On Wednesday, February 13, two Nigerian brothers were arrested in relation to the crime. It was later revealed that they knew Smollett prior to said incident. Police raided the suspects’ home and found television show scripts and a black mask. After holding the two suspects in custody, they were released without any charges brought against them.

Unknown sources told Chicago police that Smollett was the mastermind behind this attack and should be treated as such. Nothing concrete has been found to allow these allegations to become more than what they are.

It was believed that Smollett staged this situation because his character was going to be written off Empire.

CNN made a report saying that two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation said that Smollett “paid two men to orchestrate an assault on him that he reported late last month.”

Through all of the different allegations and stories, Smollett has made it clear that he was upset in regards to people believing that he lied about his assault. Since the news of a possible hoax, people around the world have been angry and inquisitive about further details.

Others agree that Smollett was lying for attention and staged the entire interaction.

I had to save my opinion about this situation until after I provided my readers with updated information from the case. If you ask me, until proven otherwise, I side with Jussie Smollett. If he turns out to really be lying, I guess we will both stand corrected.

I find it sad that when news of his attack became public, instead of believing Smollett, many people took another route to reinforce their idea that he was lying. Society would rather ignore the fact that hate crimes are real because acknowledging this would force them to revere black LGBTQ people as real humans.

Minding your business as a black man is difficult, just ask Trayvon Martin. Minding your business as a member of the LGBTQ community is difficult. Now imagine having to suffer through being both black and homosexual.

Could you imagine wanting to draw more attention to yourself that you don’t really want or need?

My heart goes out to Jussie Smollett for enduring this and my prayers go out to those that believe he is lying about what happened to him. It takes a powerful man to be able to stand after such detrimental happenings and I commend Smollett for that.

How do you all feel about Jussie’s attack? Do you feel like it was real or do you believe that it was staged? Do you believe that the support he had initially has waived due to the claims made against him? What could be the real reason he would feel the need to create false allegations and stage an attack?