News that Jussie Smollett was being let off without doing time for tying up the city of Chicago and half the world’s media with his bizarre accusation of being beaten by homophobic Trump supporters in the middle of the night was met by predictable fury from Chicago’s mayor and chief of police.
But they needn’t worry. Smollett should. He will be the new O. J., another man getting away with a crime he committed in full public view. That didn’t work out very well for The Juice. In fact, he’s a pariah for life. And it won’t for Smollett either. He will be a despised person for the rest of his days and a symbol of unequal justice. He might as well have gone to jail, served the time, and been forgiven.
Yes, the media was playing up a potential sentence of 48 years, but that would have been unlikely to have happened. It would have been a few years and out, especially if the man apologized. Now he’s in the situation of perpetually defending himself. Maybe he should hire a detective as O. J. did, promising to find just who the perps were — someone perhaps in “the world of Faye Resnick,” as Johnny Cochran famously put it.
More importantly — although it should be irrelevant, perception is everything — his release is also a terrible thing for black people, though Smollett is evidently too self-involved to realize it. You can blather on all you want about “white privilege,” but does anyone possibly think Smollett’s blackness had nothing to do with this result, that he got the wrong kind of favoritism, the reverse racist kind? Imagine, if you will, what would have happened to a Trump supporter who manufactured an attack by gay activists. Good-bye, freedom. Hello, bars for decades.
Does this help race relations?
But that’s where we are in today’s America, even after the unmasking of the Russia hoax. Or was this revelation timed to come out after that reveal? I’m probably being paranoid.
Roger L. Simon — co-founder and CEO emeritus of PJ Media — is an award-winning novelist and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter.