A well-known line from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” is, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” Similarly, an unfolding police investigation into the alleged attack in the Windy City involving “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, 36, quickly suggested “something is rotten in Chicago.”
Several factors did not add up. New evidence now explains why.
One point is clear: Following the Jan. 23 Covington Catholic High School boys incident – generating false accusations they confronted a Native American Indian who, in actuality, had confronted them – a valuable lesson remains unlearned. Liberals, eager to believe the worst, prove unwilling to let investigations run their course, instead quickly launching salacious claims against those they believe responsible: conservatives.
The background is this:
Smollett reported to police that at 2 a.m. on Jan. 29, he was returning to his apartment – a Subway sandwich bag in one hand and holding his cellphone in the other – when two white men wearing ski masks attacked him. He claims they yelled, “This is MAGA country” and other racial and homophobic slurs, tossing a liquid substance on him, later determined to be bleach. Carrying a noose, they placed it around Smollett’s neck. Fighting them off, he escaped.
Police, investigating it as a potential hate crime, reviewed all film footage available from cameras along Smollett’s return route. The entire transit was covered except for a 60-second gap.
But several details, taken collectively, raised questions about the attack’s authenticity.
- Nearly zero degrees that morning, it was extremely cold – not conditions particularly inviting for racists to be out looking for victims.
- As a target of opportunity, heavily clothed and in the dark, Smollett seemed to be very quickly recognized by his attackers who then hurled homophobic slurs at him.
- When the attack occurred, Smollett was on the phone with his manager. Police asked to examine his phone; he refused. Why would he not willingly cooperate? Phone records were later provided with certain details redacted, Smollett claims, for personal reasons.
- Film footage did reveal two possible male subjects, later identified and located by police – not white as claimed but Nigerian brothers. Police interviewed and temporarily arrested them, obtaining a search warrant for their home. Bleach and some other items were seized for testing.
- Puzzling was that two black persons would assault Smollett, also black, using words suggesting they were President Donald Trump supporters – victimizing a black man for not being in the same MAGA camp.
- In an amazing coincidence, if not planned, at least one of the Nigerians was an extra from Smollett’s television program.
- Film footage of the final leg of Smollett’s trek that morning showed him entering his apartment lobby, cellphone and sandwich bag in hand, passing the night security person in the lobby, making no effort to immediately contact police.
- Smollett’s rationale for not surrendering his phone – concern others might gain access to “Empire” cast phone numbers – plus the fact the Nigerians knew him, prompted police to look into two scenarios:
- The alleged attackers had specifically targeted Smollett – unlikely as they would not have known he would be out at 2 a.m.; or
- It was a hoax, making full access to his phone important to determine if he was talking to his manager or coordinating with the attackers.
Meanwhile, liberals, such as Rep. Mad Maxine Waters, D-Calif., immediately jumped on the issue. Supporting Smollett, Waters blamed Trump for the attack – ironic as Waters encouraged public confrontation of Trump officials, advising the “resistance” to take to the streets. Also unwilling to await investigative results was Democratic Sen. Cory Booker who described the attack as “an attempted modern day lynching.”
- How could Smollett have identified ski-masked attackers as white?
- Oddly, despite the attack, Smollett still had his cellphone and Subway sandwich bag in hand. Having fought off attackers to escape, how did he manage to retain both?
If indeed a hoax, why? Speculation is Smollett believed he was being written out of “Empire” and possibly saw this incident as a way to generate sympathy to keep him on. Producers say not so, although it looks like now he will due to the hoax. More likely, Smollett’s motivation was his intense hatred of Trump. In an interview, claiming his attackers were inspired by the president, Smollett glowed, similar to Senator Cory Booker did, in his own “Spartacus” moment, patting himself on the back for being, “really, really hard against his administration. … I don’t hold my tongue.”
The most recent evidence against the Nigerians is their purchase of rope for the noose at an Ace Hardware store. Confronted with this, they cooperated with police, who then understood Smollett’s role.
The brothers say they were paid $3,500, which Smollett denies. While they told police the three even practiced the attack, none realized a sandwich would be their undoing.
Fair-minded police repeatedly rejected calling the incident a hoax, until the Nigerians finally confessed. Sadly, Smollett’s hoax seems to be part of a growing trend portraying conservatives as intolerant and evil.
Chicago is well-known for having the highest murder rate of any city. As murder investigations piled up, police devoted much time to solving Smollett’s case to prevent racial unrest. At a time race issues are fueling an angry public, it is despicable Smollett stoked that fire with false testimony. One black activist calls for Smollett’s arrest as he could have triggered a race war, evidenced by some Smollett supporters’ warning of a revenge revolution.
While his Twitter bioline claims, “I am simply here to help save the world,” Smollett may have just made it a more dangerous one. Reportedly, a grand jury will decide next week whether to bring criminal charges against him.
Additionally, the FBI is now investigating whether a threatening letter received by Smollett before the alleged attack was also the actor’s doing.
If he lied, Smollett – and others facilitating the hoax – should all be prosecuted. He can somewhat redeem himself by acknowledging his involvement now so his die-hard supporters can let go. If he did not lie, he has a great marketing opportunity: Imagine Subway advertising that their sandwiches are so delicious, customers escaping assaults risk life and limb to retrieve them!
Such an ad will never air – nor will further evidence Smollett’s attack was not pre-planned.