As the trial for actor Jussie Smollett kicks off this week, it’s interesting to see what high-profile Democrats originally said about Smollett’s situation when he first claimed he was the victim of a hate crime.
According to Fox News, one of the prime examples of Dems playing up the hate crime angle was then-Sen. Kamala Harris, who was fast to express her sympathy for Smollett after he falsely claimed he was attacked by pro-Trump strangers in the middle of the night, calling the attack “attempted modern day lynching.”
“@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,” Harris wrote at the time.
Her supportive message came shortly after Smollett dominated the headlines when he claimed he was brutally attacked in the middle of the night in Chicago. At the time, he claimed that the two attackers doused him with chemicals, made both racist and homophobic slurs, put a noose around his neck, and warned him that he was walking around in “MAGA country.”
While Smollett was initially widely supported by Dems and his Hollywood friends, along with various social justice groups, his recollection of the events of that evening were called into question.
It wasn’t long before Chicago police officers formally alleged that Smollett had faked the whole thing, with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson claiming a month later that Smollett “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
Embarrassingly, Harris reacted to the updated information in the case in February 2019, walking back her original assertions by tweeting, “Like most of you, I’ve seen the reports about Jussie Smollett, and I’m sad, frustrated, and disappointed.”
Then-Sen. Harris added: “When anyone makes false claims to police, it not only diverts resources away from serious investigations but it makes it more difficult for other victims of crime to come forward.”
Then what happened?
In a nutshell, Smollett would eventually be hit with 16 charges related to his hoax hate crime, though he would later be free of every single charge in a shocking update, which generated yet another scandal.
It wasn’t until later when former U.S. attorney Dan Webb was appointed by a judge to be a special prosecutor in the case, and he eventually determined that Smollett “planned and participated in a staged hate crime attack, and thereafter made numerous false statements to Chicago Police Department officers on multiple occasions, reporting a heinous hate crime that he, in fact, knew had not occurred.”
Ultimately, the actor was charged with felony disorderly conduct, a class 4 felony that could land him jail time, depending on the outcome of the trial.
If he is convicted by a jury, hopefully, it will serve as a deterrent to prevent others from faking hate crimes, which, sadly, is a somewhat common occurrence these days.