Politics

Rex Murphy: Jussie Smollett injured an entire nation

Don’t put him in jail. Put him on exhibit for our decaying times

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Every day brings a new shame, a fresh burden, to our poor, weary and ever-spinning globe, overstocked as she patently already is with malice and folly. I imagine her sighing — “why was I the planet chosen to house Jussie Smollett?”

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Most of us, alas, are familiar with the Smollett saga. Roughly three years ago this singer and secondary star of a middling TV drama series — Empire — concocted, scripted, rehearsed and executed his own fake racist drama.

He staged the cretinous “attack” on his Black and homosexual self on the 2 a.m.-streets of “MAGA-country Chicago.”

Background. Smollett was not hard up. For his secondary parts in Empire he earned $65,000 to $100,000 per episode, a tidy sum for any actor. Convinced, however, that he was worth more, his wonderful brain conceived a plan that would elevate his profile — even to the unspeakable heights of being a guest on Good Morning America .

Smollett was not hard up

To do so, he faked an attack on himself, allegedly by hideous Trump-worshipping, homophobic white supremacists.

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Smollett told police that two white men, wearing the trademark red baseball caps of Donald Trump supporters and yelling “This is MAGA country,” shouted homophobic and racist slurs at him, pummelled him, poured an unknown substance on him, thought to be bleach, and left a noose on his neck.

The attack left all America reeling. The outrage was tumultuous. President Joe Biden condemned it with passion. He tweeted: “What happened today to @JussieSmollett must never be tolerated in this country. We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie.”

Biden’s bulwark, Vice-President Kamala Harris, extolled the set-upon victim, offering that Smollett “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.”

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The cable shows were almost suffocating in their support of Smollett and his claims. The late-night talk shows and cable news circuses — see Don Lemon of CNN — were aflame with indignation. The incident also proved to every Hollywood and left-wing activist that America was a cauldron of hate and prejudice.

Except. Last week, to put it in concentrated form, Smollett was convicted of lying his hypocritical head off, putting the whole imbecilic farce in motion in the hope of an increased “profile” and bigger money from Empire. He had no regard for the fact that he libelled all white people in general, turning up the temperature of race relations in an already broken America.

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It is a disease of our time that the most positive and intentional efforts in general society to purge real racism are met by attempts, à la the lying Smollett, to deny all the progress that has been genuinely made. That Smollett did this to serve his own small interests was vile. And all those who formed the chorus of Smollett support — where are they now? Nowhere to be heard or seen.

Jussie Smollett lied. He continued to lie. He grew more lies. He lied for eight hours in a courtroom. He injured the social fabric of a country that gave him ease, safety, fortune and partial fame.

What a miserable citizen Jussie Smollett is. Don’t put him in jail. Put him on exhibit for our decaying times.

National Post

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