When it was initially reported that Empire actor Jussie Smollett had been assaulted in a racist and homophobic attack by MAGA-hat-wearing supporters of President Donald Trump, far too many folks on the left dove headfirst into the controversy and accepted Smollett’s claims at face value, without question — including 2020 presidential candidate and Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris.
But now that Smollett’s story has crumbled and he is facing felony charges for filing a false police report over the hoax, many of those who rushed to his defense, including Harris, are scrambling to remove the egg on their faces.
“Modern-day lynching” hoax
Just hours after word first broke of the alleged attack on Smollett, Harris took to Twitter to express her sympathy for the actor, who is black and gay, and condemned the “modern-day lynching” that was alleged to have occurred on Jan. 29.
.@JussieSmollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery.
This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 29, 2019
Now, some three weeks later, as Smollett’s claims have been almost entirely debunked, that tweet has yet to be taken down or corrected, and Harris has yet to issue an explanation or public apology for her rush to judgement that implied that President Trump and his supporters were nothing more than racist thugs who would lynch a gay, black man.
Smollett arrested and charged
Fox News reported that Smollett turned himself in to authorities on Thursday morning after formal felony charges were filed against him Wednesday night.
As things stand right now, it appears that Smollett paid a pair of brothers he knew to help him stage the attack against himself, but those brothers are now reportedly cooperating with police and prosecutors against the actor who allegedly hired them.
It is unclear at this point what Harris has to say about the stunning twist in the high-profile case, but even the liberal media — who also dove headfirst into the story without first waiting for all of the facts — is hypocritically calling out Harris for her rush to judgement.
Harris mocked by media
Harris was asked on Monday about her initial tweet after Smollett’s story began to crumble over the weekend. She hemmed a confused answer that seemed to suggest she was unaware of her own tweet, then suggested she would refrain from commenting further until the investigation had been fully completed.
MSNBC’s Morning Joe crew also gave Harris quite a bit of grief on Tuesday over her remarks from the day prior, suggesting that she needed to take full ownership of her initial tweets — and any other tweets for that matter. Still, it is suspected that she has aides tweeting on her behalf, which would explain her confusion when she was confronted over the tweet on Smollett.
Over on CNN, Harris caught quite a bit of flak from host Alisyn Camerota and senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, both of whom took her to task for her rush to judgment and for playing into the preconceived narrative that Trump and his supporters are racist thugs who would assault someone like Smollett.
“Frankly, Kamala Harris should have exercised some caution,” Camerota said.
Considering she is a former prosecutor, U.S. senator, and presidential candidate, yes, Harris most certainly should have exercised more caution before accepting the story at face value. But whether she is truly held accountable for her ill-advised rush to judgement remains to be seen.