Hollywood in 2019 is much like it has been over the past two years. If something goes wrong, blame President Donald Trump and his administration.
We’ve seen this more recently with the alleged hate crime against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. The actor, who is gay and black, says two assailants did more than attack him late last month in Chicago. They doused him with bleach, put a noose-like rope around his neck, and bombarded him with racial and sexual taunts.
And, in some versions of the story, the attackers name-checked “MAGA country,” meaning they were Trump supporters.
Why use the word “alleged” with his story? Some elements seem unusual.
- Smollett refused to hand over his phone to police so they could corroborate the call he says he made to his manager
- Smollett asked officers to turn off their body cams when they interviewed him
- It seems more than odd that an attack would take place late at night during the polar vortex, when temperatures plummetted well below even your average freezing Chicago winter
- Why was Smollett on the phone with his manager at 2 a.m.?
- And, an element of the story the media won’t bring up, Smollett is an avowed Trump hater with a reason to bring a Trump angle into the story
Celebrities instantly connected the attack to President Trump’s supporters. Ellen Page, star of “Juno” and “Hard Candy,” doubled down on that attack via “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
It feels impossible to not feel this way now with the president and Vice President Mike Pence, who wishes I couldn’t be married. Let’s just be clear: The vice president of America wishes I didn’t have the love with my wife. He wanted to ban that in Indiana. He believes in conversion therapy. He has hurt LGBTQ people so badly as the governor of Indiana, and I think the thing that we need to know — and I hope my show “Gaycation” did this in terms of connecting the dots in terms of what happened the other day to Jussie. I don’t know him personally. I send all of my love. Connect the dots. This is what happens if you are in a position of power and you hate people and you want to cause suffering to them — you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering, what do you think is going to happen?
For what it’s worth, Page and her celebrity peers neglected to connect James Hodgkinson, who nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise, to his hard-left views and admiration for Sen. Bernie Sanders.
More importantly, celebrities and pundits alike should hold their rhetorical fire until we know the full story. Smollett may indeed be the victim of a hate crime. If true, a single event does not necessarily connect to an entire community, let alone a sitting president and vice president.