News & Politics

CNN's Van Jones Compares Smollett to... Jackie Robinson

In this March 6, 2018 file photo, actor-singer Jussie Smollett, from the Fox series, "Empire," poses for a portrait in New York. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)

Van Jones isn’t your typical far-left pundit.

Sure, he’s prone to touting the liberal line on most issues. He also can be more thoughtful than his peers. And, occasionally, he’ll lean across ideological lines for select issues. Take his upcoming appearance in the “No Safe Spaces” movie featuring Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager. The film excoriates Leftists for attacking free speech on campuses nationwide.

Free speech is no longer catnip to modern liberals, alas, but Jones begs to differ with his peers. In our divided age that’s rare and commendable.

Too bad Jones just served up arguably the worst “take” on the Jussie Smollett hoax story.

Jones started by calling Smollett, who by all the evidence available to the public and police staged elaborate hoax targeting supporters of President Donald Trump, an “icon.”

While Smollett has a recurring role on Fox’s hit series Empire, dubbing him an icon is the height of stupidity. How many people could have picked him out of a lineup before his self-made scandal broke?

Jones wasn’t done.

“This is the fall of an icon and I don’t think people understand how important he has been in the black community. ‘Empire’ as a show, to have him as a beloved character, I think did a great deal to knock back homophobia in the black community,” Jones said. “The fact that he has been celebrated and you see homophobia in the black community through his eyes on the show, this is a Jackie Robinson against homophobia.”

You almost have to read it twice to appreciate the absurdity of the comparison. If Jones, brighter than the average pundit, can sink this low, it speaks poorly of the pundit class in toto.

Only that’s hardly the dumbest take on the scandal.

Two of Smollett’s co-stars shared their support for Smollett on Twitter, long after his ruse had crumbled. Both Taraji P. Henson and Gabourey Sidibe shared this Fox network Tweet standing by Smollett:

“Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show.” – STATEMENT FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX TELEVISION AND FOX ENTERTAINMENT

Let’s see how long those retweets last. Fox just announced it’s removing Smollett’s character from the final two episodes of the current Empire season.

Sadly, the Internet will still be here to remind us of not just how Sidibe and Henson sided with an obvious hoaxer but how a respected pundit like Jones hurt his own reputation.