5 reasons many doubt Jussie Smollet’s story of a racist, homophobic attack by Trump supporters
Article By Candra Gibbons // EEW Magazine
Black openly gay actor, Jussie Smollett, has both supporters and doubters of his story of being the target of a homophobic, racist, and politically-motivated attack by Donald Trump supporters.
But the voices of doubters claiming the whole thing very well could be a figment of the “Empire” actor’s imagination are loudest.
According to 36-year-old Smollett, he feels unfairly attacked and singled out by skeptics. Quite frankly, he told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” anchor, Robin Roberts, he is “pissed off.”
Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox show believes there are those that simply want to believe that he lied and “don’t even want to see the truth.”
So far, all the public has is his word.
He says he was walking home from a Subway restaurant in Chicago at around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. Offenders allegedly beat Smollett, put a rope around his neck, poured what he believes was bleach on him, and ran off. Smollett also told police the attackers yelled, “This is MAGA country!”—a reference to Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Following the attack, Smollett said he left the rope around his neck for approximately 45 minutes until police arrived, took himself to Northwestern Hospital to be treated for minor injuries, and was released. At the time of publishing, no arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing.
So why has the outpouring of sympathy so quickly turned into a barrage of criticism and skepticism about Smollett’s story? Here are the Top 5 reasons:
#1 No corroborating witnesses: Currently, no one else seems to have witnessed the attack or anything that resembles the account Smollett gave to police. Investigators are actively trying to track down the origin of the rope. Perhaps finding the individual that purchased it will reveal the identity of the perpetrator. A New York Post reporter recently found an empty hot sauce bottle that was partially filled with a clear liquid that smelled like bleach. There is no word yet on whether it is actually tied to the said event.
#2 Smollett asked officers to turn off body cameras: Smollett, who admitted he did not initially wish to report the crime, was uncomfortable being captured on video making his claims. He asked officers to turn off their body cameras. When asked on ABC News why he waited a full half hour after the attack to phone police, Smollett said, “There’s a level of pride there. We live in a society where as a gay man you’re somehow considered to be weak, and I’m not weak, and we as a people are not weak.”
#3 No video footage: Hours and hours of surveillance video from multiple cameras has been reviewed by authorities. The attack was not captured on any of the video. No one fleeing the scene following the alleged attack was captured on any cameras either. There were two “potential persons of interest”—dark, shadowy figures—seen on camera wanted for questioning. On Thursday, Feb. 14, officers confirmed they are, in fact, interviewing two persons of interest. Though a security camera is in the vicinity of the Subway restaurant where Smollett said he was accosted, it was pointed in the wrong direction.
#4 Neighbors have spoken out against him: There may be no witnesses confirming Smollett’s account, but a couple of the actor’s neighbors have gone on record questioning his claims. “I don’t believe it happened the way he said it did,” Agin Muhammad, who lives in the same high-rise as Smollett, told The Post. “Half the people are gay and the other half are black.”
#5 Smollett would not release his phone records: When asked up front to hand over his phone so police could confirm that Smollett was on the phone with his manager at the time of the attack as he claimed, Smollett refused. More than a week later, Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Smollett finally submitted a PDF file containing a redacted record of phone calls. However, Guglielmi said the redactions were “extreme” and included activity the hour before the alleged attack. “Any redacted information was intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack,” Smollettt’s spokesman, Peter Larsen, said.
See Smollett discuss what happened in the videos below. Here’s to hoping this case will be solved soon.