Actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty last week for concocting a hate hoax against himself. He tried to claim in court that he told no lie and genuinely believed he was attacked by racist Trump supporters in downtown Chicago. A jury believed the two African men paid to stage the hate hoax instead of the disgraced actor.
This conviction should serve as a strong lesson for the Left and the mainstream media. In early 2019, all the right people believed Smollett’s tall tale and demanded action to ensure the like never happened again.
“What happened today to @JussieSmollett must never be tolerated in this country,” then-candidate Joe Biden tweeted in 2019. “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.”
“This was an attempted modern-day lynching,” declared future Vice President Kamala Harris at the time. “No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.”
A legion of other Democratic lawmakers—including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—made similar statements. So did the media and a host of celebrities. Ellen (now Elliott) Page delivered this insane rant on Stephen Colbert’s late-night show and drew wild applause from the liberal audience.
— Douglas Murray (@DouglasKMurray) December 10, 2021
GQ ran an article saying the attack on Smollett is white America’s “end game.” The piece now includes several editor’s notes on how the story was a hoax.
With egg on their collective face, you would expect some sort of contrition for this hoax. Maybe a lesson learned about believing fantastical hate crime claims? But that’s not the case at all. No liberal apologized or became more skeptical of hate hoaxes. Smollett is just treated as an embarrassment to be swept under the rug. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki directed attention to—who else—Donald Trump when responding to a reporter’s question about Smollett: “I think there are lessons learned perhaps for everybody who commented at the time, including former President Trump,” she arrogantly replied. Lesson learned: blame Trump and conservatives for hate hoaxes.
Other media outlets have taken the verdict as an excuse to excoriate conservative media for “weaponizing” it to mock hate hoaxes. CNN attacked Fox for noting how liberals enthusiastically championed the hoax. MSNBC said conservative “exploitation” of the verdict will hurt “legitimate” hate crime victims. No matter what happens, right-wingers are still in the wrong and evil.
Ellen Page (still Ellen at the time) defended her unhinged Colbert rant after Smollett’s story was exposed in February of 2019. “We must not lose sight of the very real, endemic violence that LGBTQ+ people, people of color and other underrepresented communities face every day,” she wrote in a Hollywood Reporter column. No apology expected here; just a reaffirmation that the Trump Administration encouraged hate crimes.
While very few will ever claim Smollett was the victim of a hate crime, other hate hoaxers are still believed. Just a few days after the Smollett verdict, ESPN tweeted matter of factly that black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace found a noose in his stall at Talladega Superspeedway. After an exhaustive FBI investigation, it was determined the “noose” was in fact a garage rope pull that had been there for months. Inconvenient facts detracting from the narrative don’t matter, however.
Last year, a noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s stall at Talladega Superspeedway. The next day, the NASCAR community stood with him in unity.
“I was like, ‘Holy s—, it’s the whole garage.’ … That’s when I lost it.” pic.twitter.com/Zh5HWumagX
— ESPN (@espn) December 14, 2021
ESPN still produced a melodramatic clip of Wallace as a victim of a hate crime and celebrated NASCAR for standing with him in his lie. The ESPN reporter also encouraged Wallace to state menacingly that he will remember the drivers who didn’t stand with him during his hate hoax. Apparently, it’s a serious offense to not believe a hate hoaxer, even after you’ve been proven right in your skepticism.
We live in an age where the media and political elites harp endlessly about the dangers of “misinformation.” They demand outlets and social media platforms do everything possible to purge this so-called dangerous content from their respective spheres. Some of this “misinformation” that gets people censored later turns out to be true, such as the lab origins of COVID. Yet the worst misinformation in our society—these kinds of divisive hate hoaxes—are never permitted to be combatted.
The only lesson learned is that we still need to believe dubious accusations of hate crimes because they’re a very real danger in our society. Those who promote this type of misinformation are never held accountable and never have to say they are sorry.
“Misinformation” is only bad if it challenges progressive orthodoxy. If lies reaffirm progressive dogma, then it isn’t misinformation. It’s just an honest mistake that will be repeated again and again. Lies for a good cause eventually become truth if the cause demands it. Just ask Bubba Wallace.