Jussie Smollett is possibly one of the most hated people in America right now – and that says a lot when you consider how many controversial public figures there are and how acrimonious American can be.
We just LOVE to HATE people.
If you don’t know who Jussie Smollett is… good. Frankly, his recent actions have proven that he doesn’t deserve notoriety. Smollett was a lead actor on the wildly-popular TV show “Empire.” But apparently, being a well-liked and well-known actor didn’t offer the kind of fame Smollett really coveted.
Instead, he decided he wanted to be a high-profile victim of a hate crime because… well… that part isn’t’ exactly. Smollet staged what would be one of the most bizarre and publicized series of events in recent history. And he did this in an attempt to cast himself as prey to a fictitious group of right-wing, Trump supporters.
On its surface, the story wasn’t hard to believe. Smollett is both black and gay, so he checked all the metaphorical boxes of qualities that extreme right-wingers are stereotypically known to disapprove of.
It started with Smollett receiving an anonymous letter, attacking his sexuality. Because I guess Smollett has watched too many 80’s movies, the letter was written in cut-out magazine letters and had the acronym MAGA sprawled across the envelope. It was the kind of letter you would expect to surface in a movie like the Goonies.
A few days later, Jussie Smollett was attacked outside his home by a group of MAGA hat-wearing supremacists. Of course, this instigated a wide-spread police witch-hunt in efforts to find the attackers. And if you’ve been following this story, you know exactly how that shitshow went down.
The entire story was planned and staged. Smollett had not only sent himself a bullshit letter, he then hired some friends to beat the crap out of him so that he could then push the narrative to the public that he was the victim of a hate crime, indirectly linked to Donald Trump and his insidious, noxious narrative.
But the carnival ride didn’t end there. Upon being found a liar, Smollett was charged with 16 counts of felony charges only to later be completely cleared of them by a grand jury. And, of course, people went apeshit (and rightfully so).
Staging a crime is morally reprehensible. Blaming that crime on fictitious people in order to push a political or social narrative is even more disturbing. But then to have all those felonious charges be eradicated? There are so many problems with this story that speaks to a greater issue with the current state of affairs in this country.
Conservatives are mad because they were blamed for a hate crime that never even happened. And the media ate it up because the crime spoke so clearly to the narrative that conservatives are violent, unethical barbarians that have no issue hurting someone based on their color and sexual preference. It was journalism GOLD. But then to have this man get away with everything he had done? This was icing on the cake for conservatives. Clearly, he has been absolved of all his actions because he was black and gay and publically holding him accountable would be seen as “racist.”
On the other side, liberals were just as angry (at least the rational ones were). Why would someone go to such crazy lengths, burden the police force and our tax dollars, gain the sympathy and trust of the public, only to later admit he had staged the entire crime?
Here’s the thing, though. In the aftermath of this whole scandal, the issue of black vs. white and conservative vs. liberal has been discussed ad nauseum, and that makes sense to some degree. Obviously, all of these things played a role in the execution of this ridiculous scam. But the fact that this man got away with it – that has nothing to do with color or liberalism. That has everything to do with money. If Smollett were a lower to middle-class citizen and had falsified reports, he would be sitting in a jail cell right now.
You can be mad at Jussie Smollett all you want, but you should be even more angry with how our justice system has time and time again failed us. If experience has taught us anything, it’s that money talks and even the worst crimes can usually be negotiated or absolved, providing you have fame, money, and/or a top-notch lawyer. And that’s what is really frustrating about the Smollett case. His situation was just a symptom of a much bigger issue – a justice system that doesn’t even deserve to have the word justice associated with it.
If we are to be a country that prides itself on being the “land of the free,” that means that everyone and anyone deserves proper representation in the judicial system. It means that what’s just and right shouldn’t be determined by how deep a man’s pockets are. So, while it’s totally reasonable to be aghast at the outcome of Smollett’s case, it also should serve as a reminder that the line between right and wrong is often pathed in dollar bills.