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Jussie Smollett

Updated: Feb 27, 2019

By Mel Deorsola



February 21, 2019

Although this article was published on February 14th, new information has arisen in the Jussie Smollett case. Smollett has been charged with disorderly conduct since a grand jury has been presented with the information that Smollett fabricated his own attack in order to get a salary increase. On February 21st, Smollett turned himself into police custody to face charges and the bail has been set to $100,000. While information is still emerging, it is imperative to remember that this singular false report does not erase the violence that African-Americans and LGBT people face around the world.


On the morning of January 29th, a star of the Fox hit drama Empire, Jussie Smollett, was brutally attacked in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago. Smollett, who is an African American and openly gay actor, claimed that the two men who attacked him were yelling racial and homophobic slurs, and ¨This is MAGA country!¨ Soon after reporting the incident to the Chicago PD, news of the attack became public, racing across social media platforms.

Smollett describes being beaten and dragged by a noose around his neck, and having an unknown type of chemical substance - most likely bleach - poured onto him.

Since the morning of the 29th, Smollett has been helping the Chicago PD closely in their investigation to find the assailants. Phone records submitted by Smollett were rejected on February 5th. The police stated that there was insufficient information that would assist in the case.

As well as an actor and musician, Jussie Smollett has become an LGBTQ activist and has advocated for HIV education. It is no wonder that the story of his attack struck a chord in African American and LGBT people across the country. Many people and even celebrities spoke out about the incident, either in support of Jussie Smollett, questioning his credibility, or debating whether or not what happened to him could be considered a hate crime. At this point, to deny that this was a hate crime is to deny the existence of homophobia and racism that is still pervasive in our country.

Most notably, on Stephen Colbert’s Late Night Show on February 1st, actress and LGBTQ activist Ellen Page used her platform to criticize Vice President Mike Pence for anti-LGBT positions, including wanting to ban same sex marriage in Indiana and supporting conversion therapy. Page stated: “If you are in a position of power, and you hate people, and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering, what do you think is going to happen? Kids are going to be abused and they’re going to kill themselves, and people are going to be beaten on the street [...] This needs to stop.”

Thankfully, Smollett is recovering and has even performed a concert at West Hollywood’s Troubadour club less than a week following the attack. Smollett addressed his fans about the need to stay strong, and to be “blacker and gayer” in a time when it is dangerous to be.

Here are some links if you are interested in learning more...


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