Justice for Jussie?

Jussie Smollett, once a popular actor, has had his reputation ruined by his hate crime scandal.

Jussie Smollett, once a popular actor, has had his reputation ruined by his hate crime scandal.

Safia Khan, Photojournalist

Empire star Jussie Smollett had a bright future ahead of him until January of 2019. When Smollett posted about a letter consisting of death threats and homophobic comments towards him, people were outraged. A week later, Smollett filed a police report after being attacked by two men wearing “Make America Great Again Hats” while shouting “racial and homophobic slurs” and “this is MAGA country.” They had also allegedly poured an “unknown chemical substance” on him and wrapped a noose around his neck.


When this was revealed to the public people were clearly outraged, even going after Trump himself for evoking tension and hatred and giving the green light to express racism.


When asked about her thoughts on the incident, Athena Kieu (12) says that “initially, [she] did believe Jussie Smollett because he didn’t really have a reason to lie and put himself through that trauma. [She] wasn’t privy to the accusations that he was a liar and he had planned it because, to [her], it seemed like a stretch. [She] definitely felt shocked when [she] heard that he was actually being taken to court and in general, it gives any of these situations less credibility and it definitely makes him a less credible actor.”


As the situation was being investigated, two men came forward and admitted to being paid $3,500 each by Smollett and said that he orchestrated his own attack in order to evoke sympathy and increase his likability, pushing his career in a positive direction. This admission caused Smollett’s world to fall apart and on March 8th, he was charged by a Chicago grand jury with 16 felony accounts for lying and making a false report to which he plead not guilty.


Shockingly on March 26th, it was announced by The Cook County State’s Attorney Office that all charges against Smollett would be dropped and his record would be wiped clean.


State prosecutor Joe Magats made the decision to ultimately drop the charges. However he still believes Smollett is guilty, but his office needs to focus on violent crimes and feels Smollett had done enough to “wipe this clean.”


Throughout this case Smollett had been adamant that he was not guilty and that his story was true stating that he had been “truthful and consistent on every level since day one.” Smollett continued to tell reporters outside the courthouse that he is a “man of faith” and wishes to “move on with his life” (CNN).


People were understandably vexed and angered by this decision because of all of the condemning evidence and felt that Smollett had gotten off due to his fame. The President himself has even spoken about Smollett’s release on Twitter stating that FBI and the Department of Justice would review the “outrageous” case. Trump also called the case an “embarrassment” to the country (CBS News).


This case has definitely had many twists and turns, leaving people conflicted about whether he is innocent or guilty. Some think that due to his status in Hollywood, Smollett was able to get his charges dropped. For now, Smollett is a considered an innocent man.