The Santa Clara
February 28, 2019
In arguably one of the strangest criminal cases of the past decade, actor Jussie Smollett has been arrested. Indeed, strange does not begin to describe the circumstances that have snowballed into an irreversible situation with negative implications for the now disgraced “Empire” actor.
The debacle began in late January, when Smollett supposedly received a threatening letter composed of cutout magazine letters, reminiscent of those seen in classic horror movies.
According to the Chicago SunTimes, Smollett’s case was fabricated. He was found to have the magazine from which the threatening letter was composed.
Videotapes show his attackers, Nigerian brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, buying the supplies on a local surveillance camera. Investigators found the check he paid the attackers to stage the crime.
Smollett capitalized on a divided nation that often jumps to the “guilty until proven innocent” conclusion. Smollett knew that the incident would receive high media ratings because he is a gay black man and thus was confident that the media would cover a hate crime.
Smollett also took advantage of the stereotypes regarding Trump supporters, as the media often portrays them as racist and bigoted.
He painted the image that he, a gay black male, was beaten on the streets by racist, MAGA-supporting white men.
Smollett is playing a dangerous game that needs to be recognized. His fraudulent scheme perpetuates the stereotypes surrounding race-based issues that fracture American society.
Hate crimes are a heinous problem caused by sickened and evil souls that attempt to divide our country, and it is imperative they end. However, staging a hate crime to one’s advantage, knowing that it is an extremely sensitive subject in the public eye, is a blatant abuse of celebrity power because it discredits and disrespects a real dilemma.
Smollett’s attempt to capitalize on these racial divides and amplify the effects on a national stage for his personal benefit further distances unity from coming to fruition.
What our country needs to understand is that people must prioritize others before themselves—something Smollett could certainly take note of.
Joshua Raymundo is a first-year undeclared business major.