What the Smollett saga tells us about America in the Trump era

What the Smollett saga tells us about America in the Trump era
Jussie Smollett — the wet look (Image: ABC News video screen grab)

The saga of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett came to an inglorious end at 5 a.m. CT on Thursday when the actor was taken into custody by Chicago police for allegedly filing a false report. The arrest follows a nearly month-long odyssey that began with news reports indicating that Smollett, who is black and gay, was attacked by two men, one of them masked, on a Chicago street in the small hours of January 29. “He alleged they yelled racist and homophobic slurs, tied a rope around his neck and poured an unknown substance on him.”

In addition to the sworn statement by Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, the two brothers he hired to stage the attack, police have recovered security camera video of the men purchasing the mask and more, reportedly at Smollett’s instructions.

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In their statement, the men, who were originally treated as suspects, also affirmed, as a means of setting themselves apart from Smollett:

We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens.

When the story of the alleged attack first broke, headlines like the one above this article appeared in editorials that lamented the pernicious influence Donald Trump’s bigotry has had on the nation. Many claimed that Trump’s now-infamous campaign slogan was code for “Make America White Again.”

Celebrities took to Twitter to denounce Trump’s racism and “homophobia,” which they insisted fueled the attack:

Some, like liberal comedian and actor Billy Eichner, extended their ill wishes to Trump supporters:

Any suggestion that this might be another hoax or a rush to judgment was met with haughty rancor.

So now that the other shoe has finally dropped, what have we as a nation learned? I say we have learned absolutely nothing. The Left has become so invested in hating that many are dejected that the Smollett attack turned out to be fake. The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart said Monday that people “want to believe” Jussie Smollett because his tale has been “a reality for a lot of people” since President Trump took office, adding that the “atmosphere of hate” around the country made Smollett’s story believable. Never mind that evidence of this “reality” is always the most recent Smollett fantasy or that the “atmosphere of hate” is a product of the liberal mind.

Get ready for the fire next time.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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