MANN: It Is Time to Leave Jussie Alone

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Friday, April 12, 2019


This past weekend, I watched the latest movie in the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant (2017). Amidst the film’s thriller feel, one scene brought me to laughter when a handsome Jussie Smollett appeared. “Isn’t it sad,” I thought to myself, “that I would have no clue who that was if he didn’t (allegedly) fake a hate crime.” Towards the end of March, Smollett was tried and acquitted of 16 felony charges much to the chagrin of many who are calling for more severe consequences. However, Jussie has made an utter fool of himself over the course of January and February and so will suffer enough natural consequences from the choices he has made.

In the middle of a brutal winter night, Jussie trekked out into the night for bare essentials—a Subway sandwich. Two white men armed with bleach, a noose, and, perhaps most dangerously, “MAGA” hats accosted Smollett with various racial and homophobic slurs. The men recognized the actor from the show “Empire.” Strike one. You would get struck by lightning before finding two Trump supporters in the same city who watch “Empire”.

Apparently one of the men punched him. “So I punched his [explicative] back,” chirped the triumphant Smollett. The attackers shouted, “This is MAGA country.” Strike two. Even the proudest of Trump’s supporters would know that Chicago is not “MAGA country.”

After the harrowing experience, Smollett returned to his residence, Subway sandwich in hand, and waited for police. During his wait, Smollett remained covered in bleach and with the noose around his neck. In the ensuing police investigation to achieve justice, Smollett refused to hand over full access to his phone as evidence. All of that compiles into one big strike three.

Evidence started to pile up against Smollett. Police arrested and interrogated two Nigerian brothers. Jussie knew both and had paid them a sizeable amount for “personal training” before the attack. Video surveillance footage then dropped showing the two brothers buying rope, ski masks, and even red hats resembling the supposed “MAGA” caps.

All of this is not to defer judgment onto Smollett. That was already done by Cook County’s State Attorney’s Office who dropped 16 felony charges related to faking a hate crime and occupying police resources. Was justice served? Yes.

If Jussie is innocent in all of this and remains the victim of a hate crime, then his acquittal is correct. In the court of public opinion, however, Jussie will suffer regardless of the opinion of a state attorney’s office. Everyone who remotely follows the news already has an opinion of the man, and that has to be more painful than jail time.

If you were irked by the man-hours and resources expended by police at the hands of Smollett and were out for the swift arm of the law, know that Smollett will pay tenfold. He will get dirty looks on the street, he will be used as an example for years to come, he might even lose job opportunities as evidenced by his shaky return to “Empire”.

Some may fear that hate crimes have now been incentivized; Jussie’s name has gotten free press for months without any final deterrent in the form of a felony charge. Jussie Smollett has become a household name because of this case, the argument runs, and so many will try to emulate him. However, the collective societal shaming will act as sufficient repercussions and thus a deterrent for future instigators of hate crimes hoaxes.

Did Jussie fake a hate crime? It does not matter. What matters is that a ton of people think he did. His punishment will go beyond any time he would’ve served in prison. For that reason, it is time to leave Jussie alone.

Tanner is a born-and-raised West Virginian. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from West Virginia University with a future in Actuarial Science. His interests include politics, physical fitness, professional soccer, and corgis.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Tanner Mann

West Virginia University

Tanner is a born-and-raised West Virginian. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from West Virginia University with a future in Actuarial Science. His interests include politics, physical fitness, professional soccer, and corgis.

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