UPDATE – Chicago police have yet to find any evidence, video or otherwise, of the reported hate crime. Video evidence found so far proves no such attack took place, but that hasn’t ended the investigation. Police are still asking the public for their assistance in procuring evidence:
CASE UPDATE: Tonight #ChicagoPolice detectives expanded the search area for cameras to be able to provide photos of the alleged assailants in this attack. Thus far, no video of the alleged assailants or a vehicle has been discovered but we are continuing to broaden our search pic.twitter.com/glRMbAX6D0
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) January 30, 2019
CBS News reports that surveillance video, obtained by police, shows Smollett walking around but doesn’t show an attack/assault.
Chicago police tell CBS News that they don’t yet physical evidence proving the crime happened, but police have not said the claims are untrue.
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) January 30, 2019
Reports of a hate crime attack on ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett are being met with a wary eye by several blue-check-mark Twitter pundits.
Before we proceed, let’s start off by stating the attack may have been true and perfectly accurate. That said, we’ve seen numerous instances in which the media has taken the work of a person alleging a hate crime and run with it, not bothering to check the facts.
Initial reports indicate that the hate crime, due to Smollett being gay and black while his alleged attackers were white and used slurs, took place outside a Subway restaurant in Chicago at 2 a.m.
Sources close to the 35-year-old actor state that he was a victim of a racial and homophobic attack by two white men in ski masks who poured bleach on him, tied a noose around his neck, and beat him to the point where he had to be hospitalized.
What really has piqued the media’s attention has been reports that the assailants yelled “this is MAGA country” during the attack.
Jussie Smollet’s attackers, two white men wearing ski masks, beat him up, called him “that f—got Empire n—,” put his head in a noose, and yelled, “This is MAGA country” https://t.co/MHHZOvuLII
— The Cut (@TheCut) January 29, 2019
Hole Are Popping Up
First off, is there anybody on the planet who would identify Chicago as MAGA country?
To start, the police are already reporting that this aspect of the media report is not true. “There is no report of that being said,” the Chicago police told the Daily Beast.
Chicago police say that there is no report of Jussie Smollett’s attackers shouting “This is MAGA country” like TMZ claimed https://t.co/3dTw0oU2TZ
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) January 29, 2019
Others wanted to know who is carrying around bleach in the hopes of running into a gay, black star of “Empire”?
In the middle of a polar vortex, for that matter.
At a Subway at 2 a.m.
This sounds horrifying, but nothing about the facts make sense. What Subway is open in the city at 2AM? On one of the coldest nights in Chicago history? Who carries rope, bleach+ski-masks around in the off-chance they might assault someone?
Maybe it all happened this way, but… https://t.co/G4hRbcqx9v
— Esoteric Jeff (@EsotericCD) January 29, 2019
Yeah the whole thing seems really sketchy. Chicago is “MAGA country”?
— Ashe Schow (@AsheSchow) January 29, 2019
One Federalist contributor explained that it should be fairly easy to prove the attack took place as it was reported since Subway likely has security cameras at their location.
Were these two men walking around Chicago wearing ski masks, carrying rope and bleach?
His statement makes it sound like they stumbled upon him in the subway. But they would have had to have specifically targeted him.
No witnesses, no camera footage reported so far.
— Chad Felix Greene (@chadfelixg) January 29, 2019
Still others dismissed the story out of hand …
Yup. This is 100% fake. https://t.co/3tG6PnXw9g
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) January 29, 2019
The media was quick to jump on this case as a hate crime without learning a single detail of the story outside of what Smollett’s camp has reported.
It hasn’t always been that way.
In 2017, a white special-needs victim was tortured by four young black adults who shouted racial slurs. The attack was filmed.
But the media, including personalities at CNN, AND the Chicago police were very cautious about labeling the assault as a hate crime.
This time they have no problem reporting it. Why? One attack paints the Trump supporter as a victim, the other paints the Trump supporters as the assailant.
Other Hoaxes Against Trump Supporters
Another reason for justified skepticism – the repeated incidents that have been reported trying to paint supporters of the President as evil perpetrators of hatred.
Stories like this have fallen apart before.
- Students at Babson College in Massachusetts were accused of “harassing” other students by driving through the parking lot at their campus with a Trump flag on their truck, shouting ‘Make America Great Again.’ They were cleared of the allegations.
- A Texas man in December of 2016 pled guilty to setting his own mosque on fire, a story in which “media outlets immediately exploited the tragedy to place the blame on Donald Trump.”
- That same month a Muslim college student was forced to admit she made up a story about Trump supporters attacking her on a New York City subway while others did nothing to stop it.
With that background, and several other stories alleging crimes of hate that proved to be false, we’ll wait until everyone gets the story and facts straight.
In the meantime, we wish Mr. Smollett a speedy recovery and hope the perpetrators of his attack are brought to justice.