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Jussie Smollett allegedly stages attack, increases dialogue about hate crimes

Jussie+Smollett%E2%80%99s+mugshot%2C+taken+on+Feb.+21%2C+was+released+by+the+Chicago+Police.+
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Jussie Smollett allegedly stages attack, increases dialogue about hate crimes

Jussie Smollett’s mugshot, taken on Feb. 21, was released by the Chicago Police.

Jussie Smollett’s mugshot, taken on Feb. 21, was released by the Chicago Police.

Photo courtesy of Variety.com via Chicago PD

Jussie Smollett’s mugshot, taken on Feb. 21, was released by the Chicago Police.

Photo courtesy of Variety.com via Chicago PD

Photo courtesy of Variety.com via Chicago PD

Jussie Smollett’s mugshot, taken on Feb. 21, was released by the Chicago Police.

Amanda Kaplowitz '19

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Actor Jussie Smollett was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct after allegedly filing a fake police report about an attack. Smollett reported to the Chicago police that two men committed a hate crime against him on Jan. 29, but it was later reported by the Chicago police department that Smollett hired them and staged the whole act.

Smollett, an African American gay man, claimed he was targeted because he is part of minority groups, and upon initially reporting the attack, Smollett received support from black and LGBTQ communities for bringing attention to the violence and prejudices against minorities.

Staples students have taken great issue with the actions possibly taken by Smollett.

“This will definitely impact minorities and it’ll make it that much harder for anyone to report being the target of a hate crime,” Cat Graham ’19 said. “Jussie Smollett is a Hollywood star with name recognition and although he had immense support when he was first ‘attacked,’ there were still people who didn’t believe him. So now I think anytime a real hate crime is reported and makes it into the news, the doubters will be far more skeptical.”

According to an article on Vox, “Chicago police confirmed that Smollett was now the suspect in a criminal investigation […]. The police then arrested Smollett on Thursday. They said that Smollett had paid two men, one of whom he knew from Empire, $3,500 to fake the attack.”

Once evidence, such as the $3,500 check signed by Smollett, was found in the possession of his attackers, many people were upset about what this could mean about press surrounding future hate crimes.

“It was clearly just a stunt for attention, and that detracts from the seriousness of real hate crimes,” Michael Fording ’19 said.

Reasons as to why Smollett could have staged this crime surfaced, with speculations including that Smollett was dissatisfied with his pay at “Empire” and wanted to gain publicity.

According to an article published in Variety, the two suspects who Smollett hired to attack him, “provided police with the information that Smollett set up the faux attack because he was unhappy with this salary.”

There was also speculation that Smollett was dissatisfied with Fox’s response to a homophobic letter that he claimed someone sent him. However, prosecutors later claimed that Smollett sent it to himself.

Smollett has since been fired from “Empire” and the two suspects apologized and were released by police without charges.

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Jussie Smollett allegedly stages attack, increases dialogue about hate crimes