Will Gays Be Less Likely to Report Hate Crimes Because of Jussie Smollett's Hoax?

AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Whenever fake hate crimes are exposed — and as my PJM colleague Victoria Taft points out, there are hundreds of them — the argument is always advanced that we shouldn’t pay attention to the exposé because it would make the reporting of “real” hate crimes more difficult.


We hear the same argument when a woman fakes a sexual assault. We have to treat the assault as real because not doing so would make women reluctant to report a rape.

Why should this be so? In fact, exposing hoaxes doesn’t appear to deter anyone from trying again. Why should it deter anyone from reporting a serious crime?

New York Post:

The Smollett “attack” played into every myth of progressive advocates: that gangs of white supremacists roam the streets of our nation, looking to attack African Americans. Everything fits into that narrative. Older Asians attacked by mentally ill black men on the subway. White supremacy! White guy kills two other white guys in self-defense? White supremacy! Two Nigerians sprinkle bleach on a D-lister? White supremacy!

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who never met a crime she couldn’t dismiss, knew the Smollett case was embarrassing, so she dropped it. Jussie’s backers took that as vindication.

“Being queer and black is like having a target on your back every time you walk out the door,” “The Chi” creator Lena Waithe said. “I don’t really believe police. I tend to believe black people first.”

This is why it’s ludicrous to try and make the argument that hate crimes will go unreported because the meanies on the right-wing are lying in wait to leap upon the victim and call into question their victimhood. There will always be the belief in the victim — even he isn’t a victim.


But it flies in the face of reality, doesn’t it? “Reality” on the left is frangible. Zack Stafford, former editor at the gay newspaper The Advocate, makes that very clear in an op-ed for MSNBC.

The Jussie Smollett saga may now be technically over after a Chicago jury found the actor guilty Thursday of five of the six counts he faced, but its impact will be — and has already been — felt for years to come. It doesn’t matter if the actor, who starred on “Empire,” really was beaten up by people yelling “This is MAGA country!” and is wrongly being punished or if he did stage an elaborate hoax, as the jury decided he did by finding him guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct. (Emphasis added)

Instead, the seemingly never-ending questions over the almost three years regarding the truthfulness of his account means the indisputable victims of hate crimes will now carry an even heavier burden of suspicion.

Assuming facts not in evidence. The reporting of hate crimes has increased over the years despite dozens of incidents being proven to be fake. Why should Jussie Smollett’s case be the tipping point that makes real victims run for cover instead of stepping forward to report them?

We couldn’t help but cover the story of a Black, gay celebrity who said he’d been attacked by Trump supporters. This wasn’t just because it was a story involving a famous member of the community we covered, but also because for many of us who had been reporting on anti-LGBTQ crimes for years, we believed his case might help shine a light on the fact that LGBTQ folks — especially trans people — were dying at historic rates in the streets. Smollett claimed to have been attacked in those same streets.


This isn’t a debate about the efficacy of “hate crimes” even though it would be a good opportunity to do so. This is a debate about truth and why there isn’t an “objective truth” that we can all embrace and live by.

When truth becomes the servant of politics, we lose both our politics and the truth.


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