Jussie Smollett Charged With Faking “Hate Crime”

Actor Jussie Smollett is charged with staging an attack initially called a "hate crime."

Actor Jussie Smollett, who appears on the Fox Broadcasting show Empire, has been arrested and charged with a series of crimes, including lying to police about what he alleged was a race-based attack by two men wearing MAGA hats and which now clearly seems to have been staged:

Jussie Smollett, the “Empire” actor who said he was the victim of a hate crime, was arrested on Thursday morning on charges of staging the assault he reported to Chicago police in January.

Anthony Guglielmi, the chief spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, said early Thursday that Mr. Smollett was “in custody of detectives,” just hours after a grand jury heard evidence on Wednesday that Mr. Smollett falsely reported being attacked and local prosecutors charged him with a felony count of disorderly conduct. A representative for Mr. Smollett did not respond to a request for comment.

The Chicago Police Department was expected to discuss his arrest at a news conference scheduled for 9 a.m. on Thursday, Mr. Guglielmi said.

Mr. Smollett, who is black and gay, had told the police that, while walking in downtown Chicago, he had been confronted by masked men who hurled homophobic and racial slurs at him, and announced it was “MAGA country,” a reference to President Trump’s campaign slogan.

Mr. Smollett had received an immediate outpouring of public support. Many cited his account as an example of another in a rising tide of hate crimes, which the F.B.I. reported last fall had increased for the third straight year.

But the change in thinking by investigators as the case progressed began to unleash criticism against the news media and politicians who many critics said were too quick to embrace a sketchy account in their drive to tarnish the president. It became a nightly topic on Fox News for Tucker Carlson, who called it a case of identity politics run amok. “Identity politics is a scam,” he said, “and it is not so different from the one that Jussie Smollett just pulled.”

Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor at National Review, said on Wednesday: “I think that the initial reaction suggested that there is a lot of credulity, especially among liberals who were looking at a story that seemed to confirm their impressions about Trump supporters.”

Mr. Smollett has continued to vehemently insist the incident occurred just as he reported it.

His lawyers, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, released a statement that said: “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”

From the start, investigators had difficulty corroborating Mr. Smollett’s story, even with about a dozen detectives assigned to the case

No surveillance cameras caught the attack. There were no witnesses. He had not reported it from the scene, and when he got home was still wearing a noose that he said the perpetrators had placed around his neck.

Investigators, though, were able to track two men who appeared on video footage not far from the scene that night. Using ride share data, they discovered the two were brothers who in fact knew Mr. Smollett. One had acted as an extra on “Empire.”

The police initially identified the brothers as possible suspects in the attack, but then released them without filing any charges. The men told investigators that Mr. Smollett had coordinated a faux attack and paid them to participate in it.

The brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, were brought in as witnesses to the grand jury Wednesday evening with their lawyer. Afterward, Gloria Schmidt, the lawyer, declined to say how much the brothers had been paid but said they had testified for more than two hours.

She said the two men wanted to clear the record and she urged Mr. Smollett to do the same.

“I think Jussie’s conscience is probably not letting him sleep at night,” she said,”so he should probably unload that conscience and just come out and tell the American people what actually happened.

Filing a false police report in Illinois is technically referred to as disorderly conduct and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. In Mr. Smollett’s case, he was charged with a felony count, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

Mr. Smollett’s lawyers, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, have said their client denies the police account. “Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” they said in a statement Saturday.

It added: “One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity.”

Mr. Smollett’s possible motive in pursuing a plan the police now suspect him of drafting remains mysterious. Various theories have surfaced, one suggesting he might have been worried he was about to be relegated to a lower profile on “Empire,” perhaps being written out of the Fox series entirely. The network vehemently denied that was the case.

On Wednesday, in fact, before the police made their announcement, Fox had put out another statement saying it was standing by Mr. Smollett. It called him “a consummate professional on set” and said, “as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show.” The network later declined comment on the criminal charge.

(…)

As Mr. Smollett first described the attack it occurred at 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. He said his assailants hit him in the face, bruising him, then poured a chemical substance on him as he walked back home along Lower East North Water Street, after a trip to buy a tuna sandwich. Mr. Smollett, in a follow-up interview with detectives, said the attackers had mentioned “MAGA country.”

Mr. Smollett’s manager, Brandon Moore, said he had been on the phone with Mr. Smollett and overheard part of the attack, a statement later confirmed by phone records released to the police.

Within days, the police released an image of two men they considered “potential persons of interest wanted for questioning.” Mr. Smollett would later say in an interview on ”Good Morning America” that he was convinced the men in the pictures were his attackers.

“Because I was there,” Mr. Smollett said. “For me, when that was released, I was like, ‘O.K., we’re getting somewhere.’ I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them. Never did.”

More from the Chicago Tribune;

Actor Jussie Smollett faked a threatening letter and then, a week later, staged a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” on the “Empire” television show, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnsonsaid Thursday morning.

Smollett paid two brothers he knew $3,500 to fake the attack in the 300 block of East North Water Street around 2 a.m. Jan. 29, Johnson said, adding that detectives have the check for the money. The superintendent called the scheme “shameful” and wondered how an African-American could set up a racist attack for a “publicity stunt.”

When investigators figured out the real motive behind the attack, “quite frankly, it pissed everybody off,” Johnson said. “‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.

“It’s shameful,” he said. “It’s just despicable. … It makes you wonder what’s going on in someone’s mind to be able to do something like that.”

Looking out at a crowded room of reporters at police headquarters, Johnson said: “I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention.”

Smollett surrendered to Chicago police earlier Thursday morning on a felony charge of disorderly conduct alleging he made a false police report. Smollett, 36, turned himself in around 5 a.m. Thursday at the Central District police station at 1718 S. State St., flanked by four or five people, according to police spokesman Thomas Ahern, who was present during the surrender.

“He was very quiet and didn’t say anything,” Ahern said. “He went with detectives and they booked him.”

Area Central Cmdr. Edward Wodnicki, who led the investigation, said police and private surveillance cameras were critical to tracing the movements of the brothers and giving detectives a break in the case. He said the brothers’ use of a taxi and a ride-share service were tracked by detectives.

Wodnicki said about 100 subpoenas and search warrants were issued. Social media and video were reviewed, and detectives learned the brothers had left for Nigeria after the reported attack and that they were coming back Feb. 13. They were then arrested, but the probe began to “spin” in a new direction.

The two testified before a Cook County grand jury on Wednesday, hours before charges were announced against Smollett. “I’m told they did an excellent job,” Wodnicki said.

Johnson insisted that no homicide and shooting investigations were affected by the case, despite as many as 20 detectives assigned to it. But he added, “Those are resources and time spent that we’ll never get back.”

Smollett was scheduled to appear for a bond hearing later in the day. If convicted, he faces up to three years in jail and could be ordered to pay for the cost of the investigation, which involved more than 20 detectives over three weeks.

Smollett, who is African-American and openly gay, has said he was walking from a Subway sandwich shop to his apartment in the 300 block of East North Water Street around 2 a.m. Jan. 29 when two men walked up, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, hit him and wrapped a noose around his neck. Smollett said they also yelled, “This is MAGA country!” referring to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.

Chicago police initially launched a hate crime investigation, but authorities had said recently that they were looking into whether Smollett paid two brothers he knew to stage the attack. The brothers appeared before a grand jury hours before the charges were announced Wednesday evening, according to their attorney, Gloria Schmidt.

Schmidt declined to give much detail about the evidence presented to grand jurors. She did say the brothers got money from Smollett at some point, and said she believes the brothers have been in contact with the actor at least once since the attack was reported.

She urged Smollett to “unload” his conscience. “I think that Jussie’s conscience is probably not letting him sleep right now, so I think that he should unload that conscience and just come out and tell the American people what actually happened.”

Police say the case began to close in on Smollett last week when detectives took the two brothers, 25 and 27, into custody after they were captured by surveillance cameras in the area around the time of the incident. The brothers were taken into custody Feb. 13 at O’Hare International Airport after returning from Nigeria. Police also raided the men’s North Side town home.

Two days afterward, police called them “potential suspects” but then released them 12 hours later.

The shift in the investigation’s focus came amid often bitter public debate and stinging skepticism on social media — doubts that Smollett addressed in a national TV interview and in a strongly worded statement after the brothers were released.

As many as 20 detectives were assigned to the case in the weeks following Smollett’s report, and nearly every camera in the Streeterville neighborhood was checked for video that might have shown the attack. Some police sources privately expressed doubts after finding little, if any, corroborating evidence or video of a crime.

To be frank, I have only been tangentially aware of this incident based on what I have seen unfold on social media over the past two weeks. I quite honestly didn’t pay much attention to the story either when it was first reported or when subsequent reports were released that started to call question to Smollett’s claims about being the victim of a hate crime. In both cases, it seemed quite apparent that this incident, which involved an actor I’d never heard of from a show I’ve never watched, was being used by both sides in the culture war that has erupted in this country to prove their claims. At first, of course, Smollett’s claims, which seemed believable on first hearing if only because it was hard to imagine someone staging the kind of attack that would result in the apparent injuries he had suffered, were picked up by the political left and Trump critics. To them,  the attack was an example of the violence inspired by the President’s rhetoric, examples of which we’ve seen plenty of real examples of since January 20, 2017, and dating back to when the President entered into the race. As time progressed and it became more and more apparent that Smollett’s story did not add up, conservatives began to use the incident to prove their point that most alleged claims of race-based hate crimes are either fabrications or exaggeration. All of this before the facts were actually known. Because of this, I largely remained silent about the matter, content to let the investigation and the legal process work itself out.

It now seems quite apparent that Smollett was lying from the start, that the attack never happened, and that the injuries he received, which mainly consisted of cuts and contusions, were either self-inflicted or inflicted with Smollet’s consent as part of the effort to make it appear that he had been the victim of a hate crime. As far as why Smollett would do this, the Police Commissioner of Chicago who spoke at this morning’s press conference claimed that the primary motivation for the incident was not political but part of some bizarre scheme to enhance his career, his role on his television show, and to increase the salary he was negotiating with producers at the time of the incident. Instead, Smollett now stands accused of a crime that, if pursued as a felony, could result in him spending several years in state prison and which will most assuredly call his entire career into question. Why he ever thought this scheme would work is beyond me.

The danger of cases like Smollett, of course, is that it detracts from the fact that there has in fact been an increase in bias-based crimes since the President took office. Just as in any other case where a crime is alleged, when someone fakes a crime it provides ammunition to those who have political and other reasons to deny that there is any problem to begin with. This has been an issue in the past with regard to sexual assault crimes, and the result is that people become less likely to believe future accusers, or to believe evidence that shows that crimes of the type that Smollett alleged here are in fact becoming more of a problem, especially since many of the people who have committed those crimes have said many of the pro-Trump things that Smollett claimed his attackers said to him. Additionally, as the Police Commission who spoke at this morning’s press conference said, these crimes divert police resources from investigating actual crimes and end up smearing cities like Chicago which already have problems over and above those created by one idiotic actor seeking to boost his career with this kind of bizarre scheme.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, Race and Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    The notion, popular on the Twitter mob far left, that all accusers who are women or POC or gay must be believed takes another hit. Genuine victims lose. But this was the inevitable outcome once people started demanding unquestioning acceptance of all putative victims. Simple minds crave simple solutions: always believe is a simple message, also a very stupid message that sowed the seeds of its own negation. Basically the proposition ‘always believe’ falls once we see the case of a person who cannot be believed. Clearly ‘always’ is nonsense. Which leaves ‘sometimes believe.’

    This is a case where the moderate path would have been more sustainable, less vulnerable to contradiction. A more moderate path would have led to many more accusers being believed, without creating the vulnerability inherent in ‘always.’

    21
    6
  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I don’t think I’ve never commented on this guy…because it seemed fishy from the jump.
    He’s hurt the fight against racism.
    He has empowered racists like Dennison and his son, Don Jr.
    I hope he gets the maximum penalty, because what he has done is far greater than the sum of the charges against him.

    15
    2
  3. Slugger says:

    I think that it would be useful for the public to defer judgment for 48 hours on most things. I do think that law enforcement has often had a dismissive attitude toward sex crimes and racially based crimes, and this has caused the rising of the “always believe” advocacy groups. I have previously recounted the story of the sixteen year old daughter of a friend who got drunk and raped on a campus visit; the parents were treated very dismissively by the cops.
    My takeaway from the Smollett story is that everything worked the way it should have. The cops did their job, and justice will be done. The jabber is just that, and I don’t think it should be taken seriously. No, there was no hate crime here, and no, this does not mean that we should ignore allegations of hate crimes. Don’t take bullsh*t seriously.

  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    OT…
    RIP, Peter Tork…always my favorite Monkee.
    If you ever have an opportunity to watch one of the old Monkee’s TV shows…do it. They are really avante-garde for the time…very trippy.

    5
    1
  5. Eric Florack says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: The reason that racism is still with us is because the left has been too busy using it as a crutch to throw it away.

    And why is that? Because it is attractive to be a victim. And victim status is what’s really at the center of all of this. The trend is palpable.

    Elizabeth Warren claiming that she is native American.

    Jussie Smollett claiming that he was attacked by Trump supporters.

    Colin Kaepernick claiming that he was victimized by the NFL.

    Hillary Clinton claiming her plane was fired upon.

    The stance of the victim is a very powerful one, particularly in today’s society. they are not responsible, nor accountable, and therefore have no need in their own minds to change their behavior. Add to that they feel forever entitled to our sympathy.

    Such a person is constantly blaming everybody else within pointing distance for their problemseven if the placement of such blame makes absolutely no sense. Like for example the governor of New York blaming Florida for everybody leaving New York instead of his own idiotic and destructive policies. Like the former Secretary of State blaming a YouTube video that nobody saw for Benghazi.

    Every single one of those situations, and thousands more that we see everyday in the supposed mainstream media, are about the coveted victim status.

    Time after time they’re revealed as flat-out fakery.

    To wit; if White privilege exists, why did Elizabeth Warren claim she was an Indian?

    And, in this case, why did jussie Smollett decided he needed to hire a couple of Nigerians for the purpose of starting an anti Trump, anti-white smear?

    4
    32
  6. Eric Florack says:

    Oh by the way, did anybody catch Snopes trying to fact-check The Babylon Bee?

    They ran a sarcastic article about jussie Smollett getting a job at CNN. Of course Snopes jumped right out with the fact check.

    Ponder if you will the level of paranoia and reality disconnection required for such an action.

    3
    20
  7. Douglast says:

    It smelled off from day one, and too many prominent left wingers foolishly rushed in with agenda-driven knee-jerk reactions.

    10
    6
  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Eric Florack:

    The reason that racism is still with us is because the left has been too busy using it as a crutch to throw it away.

    The reason racism is still with us is because abject fuqing racists like still exist.
    The world will be better when you, and people like you, just die.

    (For anyone who thinks that harsh…they should go to Floracks web site and seearch the “n” word and see how many entries show up.)

    12
    6
  9. Kylopod says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    He’s hurt the fight against racism.

    It’s just like false accusations of rape: statistically rare, but whenever they do happen they provide a truckload of ammo for people who want to cast doubt on all such claims by treating the exceptions as the rule.

    I’m curious to know the full story when it comes out, because at bottom it’s just plain bizarre.

    12
    1
  10. Stormy Dragon says:

    Most disturbing part of this story:

    If this is true, it's horrific. The implication is that Jussie Smollett thought the police had two innocent men in custody and he said he would testify against them. Only when he realized the cops got the right guys-the guys he orchestrated the hoax with-did he refuse to comply. pic.twitter.com/7Ka7RSI7OW— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) February 18, 2019

  11. CSK says:

    All this because he wanted a bigger paycheck. Swell.

  12. reid says:

    If he really did this, and especially if he did it just to get a raise, then he’s a complete fool. He really thought he would get away with it? Now his career is ruined instead. Good job.

  13. Gustopher says:

    Who is this asshat?

    I’m glad the police listened to him, and took his complaints seriously, investigated, found the guilty parties and referred them for prosecution. It’s what we hope happens with every complaint of a hate crime.

    14
  14. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    (For anyone who thinks that harsh…they should go to Floracks web site and seearch the “n” word and see how many entries show up.)

    Florack’s Rap Shack is one of the most comprehensive collections of rap lyrics on the internet, and is a valuable resource for scholars, musicians and hobbyists alike. You’re really being unfair not putting it in context.

    5
    2
  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack:

    The reason that racism is still with us is because the left has been too busy using it as a crutch to throw it away.

    Having read that bit of idiocy I knew it was just going to go downhill from there, and so didn’t read any further. Was it your intention to be ignored?

    6
    3
  16. Kylopod says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Oh by the way, did anybody catch Snopes trying to fact-check The Babylon Bee?

    They ran a sarcastic article about jussie Smollett getting a job at CNN. Of course Snopes jumped right out with the fact check.

    Snopes fully acknowledged it was a satirical website. Their fact-check was directed at people who mistook it as a real news story. (Satire being mistaken for fact is a common source of urban legends and Internet hoaxes.) In the site’s words: “This was not a genuine news story, although some readers mistook it for such. The Babylon Bee is a satirical website whose disclaimer notes that ‘The Babylon Bee is Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire.'”

  17. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod:

    I’m curious to know the full story when it comes out, because at bottom it’s just plain bizarre.

    It’s not too bizarre. If he said he was attacked by green men who wanted to milk him like a cat, that would be bizarre.

    This was designed to tap into the ideologies and prejudices of the people who think MAGA hats are basically Nazi uniforms. Booker called the “attack” an “attempted modern-day lynching.” Kamala Harris used the very same term: “Attempted modern-day lynching,” appending it with a call to action. “We must confront this hate.”

    Yes, I agree. The left must confront the hate that made this story all too believable for far too many people. Other folks were appropriately skeptical from the jump.

    12
    7
  18. James Pearce says:

    @Gustopher:

    Who is this asshat?

    Where have you been all month?

  19. Tyrell says:

    “I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got that much attention” (Chicago police chief at news conference). There are many lessons in that statement. It says it all.
    “It’s not news anymore” Turner

    6
    1
  20. CSK says:

    Smollett paid the two men with…a personal check. Not. Too. Bright.

  21. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce: paying attention to things that are more important than this asshat?

  22. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: I suggest you look at what has been done, historically, to black men and women in the US before making the accusation that all of this sort of stuff is invariably made up and there’s no reality ever in it.

    Ever heard of lynching? Better crack open a history book, boyo.

    7
    6
  23. Eric Florack says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I don’t know with all the fake stuff coming up lately maybe you want to look twice and recalculate

    And don’t talk to me about the n-word as you call it when black people on the streets are using it like a freaking comma.

    there’s something else you want to consider. Every socialist movement in history from March to Hitler on down every damned one of them centered victimhood. the other

    4
    14
  24. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Well, you wouldn’t expect, say, a career criminal to walk into a sound stage and perform well enough that they’d be hired to play a regular character in a TV series. By that logic, you shouldn’t expect a career actor to plan a crime that would let him off the hook.

    That said, it takes a special kind of stupid to plan a crime which involves making a report to the police. Usually criminals try to avoid the police. Everyone knows that, or should know that.

    4
    1
  25. Eric Florack says:

    @Kylopod:
    well of course they did. But let’s consider the question of who it is that does understand the Babylon bee is a satirical site?

    Likely, the very same people who consider Snopes to be a factual site.

    Let’s also consider the question of how many conservatives have been defended in this manner by Snopes and by other supposed fact-checking sites.

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again, citing Snopes as anything resembling fact will elicit loud laughter from me

    2
    15
  26. James Pearce says:

    @Gustopher:

    paying attention to things that are more important than this asshat?

    Even if this was a matter of priorities, I’d think at some point you would have heard something about this story from one of the right-wing people you know, follow on Twitter, read online, or something.

    @grumpy realist:

    Ever heard of lynching?

    No, we’re not going to use this fake attack to discuss the historical problem of lynching.

    4
    4
  27. Eric Florack says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: was yours?

    1
    3
  28. Kylopod says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I don’t know with all the fake stuff coming up lately maybe you want to look twice and recalculate

    The FBI reports thousands of hate crimes every year–against blacks, Latinos, Jews, gays, and more. There’s been a spike in such crimes over the last three years. In 2018 alone, the FBI reported more than 7,000 hate crimes, nearly 60% of which were racial in nature.

    In every category of crime that exists, there are examples of false accusations and hoaxes. People have been known to fake car thefts; does this mean car theft isn’t a real crime? Of course nobody goes around denying the reality of car theft, but for some reason, people like you have a pathological need to deny the reality of racism, using the fallacy and propaganda technique of treating the exceptions as the rule. Why is that?

    13
    2
  29. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce: My brothers are still sending me “Hillary is sick” memes, and I got bored with the daily hate of Redstate and Fox, and removed them from my Newsfeeds. I’d like a non-insane conservative news source, but I haven’t found one.

    My brothers are slow.

    5
    1
  30. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’d like a non-insane conservative news source, but I haven’t found one.

    Have you looked at The Bulwark? It seems fairly reasonable. But it’s commentary rather than news, so it may not fill your bill.

  31. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Gustopher:
    That is either one of the most brilliant pieces of sarcasm ever…or a very mistaken identity.
    http://bitsblog.theconservativereader.com

  32. Eric Florack says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    You are invited to prove what I said wrong. I’ll wait.

    2
    2
  33. Jax says:

    Interesting that in Florack’s laundry list of “victims” on the left, there is no mention of Trump at all. The entire MAGA philosophy is based on victimhood.

    That said, I am shaking my head at the damage this self-absorbed actor making $65,000 per episode has done to people who will experience or have experienced hate crimes.

    7
    1
  34. Eric Florack says:

    @Kylopod: the FBI also reports a similar number of cases where conservatives have been attacked. And yet we don’t hear much from those in the lamestream media do we? Attacks like this one at Berkeley…
    https://mobile.twitter.com/bradleydevlin/status/1098663182472749061

    And, you see, the one I’m showing you here has the advantage of not being faked… But I’ll bet it won’t even raise an eyebrow here.

    3
    5
  35. Kylopod says:

    @Eric Florack:

    the FBI also reports a similar number of cases where conservatives have been attacked.

    Where? The FBI stats on hate crime don’t include political orientation as a category. The categories are race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender-identity, and disability.

    Please show me the FBI report detailing around 7,000 examples of conservatives being attacked in 2018 or any other year.

    14
  36. Jax says:

    @Kylopod: You read my mind, but I wasn’t going to give him the pleasure of @’ing him.

    Data tables please me.

  37. a says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    why would someone upvote this drivel? irony alert – on a post about the vileness of hate! where have i seen this attitude before….

    1
    1
  38. Tyrell says:

    @Gustopher: How about these sources: Forbes, NPR, Space Weather, Popular Science, NewsEla, Economist, CNET, TED, DOGO News
    These are not your run of the mill, main stream dogma sites, but are reliable, and educational.

    2
    4
  39. Yixiao says:

    it detracts from the fact that there has in fact been an increase in bias-based crimes since the President took office.

    Reason.com suggests otherwise:

    But despite Trump’s very real history of making disparaging remarks about all kinds of people, there is not a lot of statistical evidence to support the notion that hate crimes are surging. While it’s true that the FBI’s count of hate crimes rose 17 percent from 2016 to 2017, it’s important to note that 1,000 additional agencies reported information to the FBI in the latter year. It should go without saying, but as the number of agencies participating in the FBI’s count of hate crimes grows more numerous, the total number of hate crimes will undoubtedly rise. This does not necessarily mean that hate crimes are surging—just that the authorities undercounted them previously.

    1
    4
  40. An Interested Party says:

    And don’t talk to me about the n-word as you call it when black people on the streets are using it like a freaking comma.

    Ahh, so that’s what gives you the right to use it…there’s some pathetic reasoning there…

    You are invited to prove what I said wrong. I’ll wait.

    Sure thing! Hitler was not a socialist nor is the Democratic Party…Colin Kaepernick was victimized by the NFL in that the owners froze him out because of his kneeling…the proof of that is how many teams sucked with bad quarterbacks and yet none of the owners would sign him to help their struggling teams…as for victimhood, you yourself have practiced that on this very thread…

    the FBI also reports a similar number of cases where conservatives have been attacked. And yet we don’t hear much from those in the lamestream media do we?

    Poor you…

    5
    2
  41. Virginiaboy says:

    @Eric Florack: As a black person I can tell you that the majority of are not using the n word and please stop using rappers as a guide for everday blacks. Btw, it is no longer called Rap, we call it Hip Hop.

    5
    1
  42. Virginiaboy154 says:

    @Eric Florack: Please stop assuming that the majority of blacks use the n word. As a black person this is offensive. We do not use this word in my family and among friends and we do not take ques for how to live our daily lives from rappers.

    8
    1
  43. Virginiaboy154 says:

    @Eric Florack: As a black person I am insulted that you believe that the majority of blacks use the n word freely on a daily basis. You are wrong. My family and social circle do not use that word and we do not take ques for how to live our life from rappers.

    3
    1
  44. Gustopher says:

    @Eric Florack:

    And don’t talk to me about the n-word as you call it when black people on the streets are using it like a freaking comma.

    I’m going to recommend you not use commas. You clearly don’t understand them.

    3
    1
  45. Eric Florack says:

    @a: yeah unfortunately is attitude is hardly unique. He’s preaching about the evils of hate while displaying it.
    I wondered if I was the only one that noticed

    @Gustopher: when you can’t deal with the message you try to deal with the messenger. Like I haven’t seen this one before..

    1
    4
  46. Kylopod says:

    @Eric Florack: In response to my pointing out that the FBI reports thousands of hate crimes against racial minorities every year, you said that “the FBI also reports a similar number of cases where conservatives have been attacked.” Again, when did the FBI ever make this claim? I’ve certainly never heard it, but I will gladly concede the point if you provide the citation.

    Failure to provide the citation, however, will be an implicit admission that you just make sh!t up.

  47. Gustopher says:

    @Eric Florack: It’s hard to understand your message with your outrageous French accent.

  48. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Here’s a search of the “n” word on Floracks website.
    Dozens of entries.
    Don’t give this abject racist the bandwidth to spew his ignorance.
    http://bitsblog.theconservativereader.com/?s=nigger

    1
    2
  49. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: White people are going to use the N word as long as it is a word in common usage. It’s just a fact of life.

  50. grumpy realist says:

    Probably the best “last word” on the matter:

    Colbert couldn’t help but puzzle over the fact that Smollett allegedly hired two black men to stage a supposedly racially motivated hate crime against him. “Look, I’m no expert,” the comedian said. “But if you’re gonna fake a white-supremacist hate crime, hire two white guys, O.K.? This is one place where you don’t want diversity.”

  51. Mikey says:
  52. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:
    Its not a word in common usage.
    Well…maybe in your circles…it’s used commonly by racists.

    2
    1
  53. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: It is a word in common usage, not in the white community and not always in a derogatory fashion. Haven’t you ever heard of AAVE?

  54. gVOR08 says:

    Given the number of stories I’ve seen over the years of some white person telling the police a fake story about some black guy did whatever, I’m having a lot of trouble getting excited about this.

    4
    2
  55. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08: Think of how many times in just the past few months white people have called the police on black people for simply existing in the “wrong” place.

    2
    2
  56. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:
    That is an unintentionally revealing statement. I don’t know what circles you travel in but I have not heard that word spoken by a white person in at least 20 years. Even 30-40 years ago when I was waiting tables I didn’t hear it. I’d hear snark about black patrons not tipping well, but not the n-word.

    4
    1
  57. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I don’t know what circles you travel in but I have not heard that word spoken by a white person in at least 20 years.

    That does not surprise me. Virtue-signaling boomers won’t have much use for it. Even people in my generation –who grew up with the LA Riots and the OJ Simpson trial– are going to be uncomfortable with using it.

    But my nephew –turning 24 this year, who grew up on hip-hop music– was under the impression this forbidden, never-to-be-used-by-white-mouths word was a synonym for “dude.” You know why? He’s been exposed to AAVE as expressed in this country’s most popular form of music.

    1
    2
  58. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’ve heard it from middle class, white, country club conservatives, but IIRC always in the context of why can black people say it, why can Mel Brooks use it, but I can’t. You have to forgive the little dears, they’re such snowflakes.

    I try to explain it’s because when Mel does it, it’s funny. Referencing the thread recently on conservatives and funny, that did not compute for them.

  59. Guarneri says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    What a liar you are.

    1
    4
  60. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:
    Oh…it IS in common usage…just like Dennison DID win on the wall.
    Saying it does not make it so.

    1
    1
  61. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Do you even know what AAVE is?

  62. just nutha says:

    @James Pearce: Not watching Empire, obviously. I don’t watch it either, and so also had no idea of who he was. Please forgive us for not trying to stay as pop culture woke as you are.

  63. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: The only people who can deny him the bandwidth are the site owners.

    I do think people might not want to engage with him as he wants to be engaged with. Point it his racist history, treat him as a joke, whatever.

  64. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce: Your nephew is an idiot.

    I don’t mean that in a bad way, we’re all idiots time and again. I have a friend who somehow never heard of the phrase “Final Solution” until he was 40, and in the middle of a meeting said “We keep having to solve this problem, we need to be looking for a final solution.” Boy did that meeting change tone.

    Someone had to teach your nephew that stealing was wrong when he was 5 or so. Explain that when you take something, not only do you have it, but that the other person no longer has it, and it’s not fair to the other person. That it’s hurting the other person. Your nephew probably learned that lesson.

    Somehow, everyone who taught him missed the n-word and it’s effects. It happens. But it doesn’t mean the word has lost its power to hurt, merely that your nephew is an idiot.

    My brothers also use the n-word a lot. But that’s because they are racists.

  65. just nutha says:

    I was going to note that

    White people are going to use the N word as long as it is a word in common usage. It’s just a fact of life.

    and

    It is a word in common usage, not in the white community and not always in a derogatory fashion. Haven’t you ever heard of AAVE? [emphasis added]

    appear contradictory (and supposition that is not supported with offered fact or citation, but that’s another question). But then I realized who the posts were from and I realized having the discussion with a brick or winter slush would be more reasonable and profitable intellectually.

    1
    1
  66. the Q says:

    Now that the wingnuts have successfully proven one lie with so much enthusiasm, now its on to the 6,000 lies told by their Fuhrer with the same gusto, right wingnuts?

  67. James Pearce says:

    @just nutha:

    Please forgive us for not trying to stay as pop culture woke as you are.

    “Pop culture woke?” Try non-bubbled. Right-leaning people have been tweeting about Smollett for weeks.

    @Gustopher:

    Your nephew is an idiot.

    Well, he was ignorant, that’s true. He had all the old, square authority figures in his life telling him that’s using that word is a no-no, and yet all his peers and idols were using without restriction or compunction. So no, it’s not a matter of “everyone who taught him missed the n-word and it’s effects.” It’s that some folks taught him the word is wrong and harmful and shouldn’t be used, and others taught him that it was colloquialism.

    This is going to continue to be a problem as long as the N word is a colloquialism for some people and verboten for others. Gotta pick one standard, and apply it to all.

  68. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce: Context matters. Understanding the audience and the intent completely changes the act or the speech.

    To take the most extreme example, context is what separates making love from rape.

  69. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    @James Pearce:

    First: I don’t lie. You on the other hand, do, and you worship the orange fountain of lies, then lie about his lies. So, STFU on the subject of lies, you have no standing.

    Second: It is hardly a surprise that two white men who support a white supremacist party and are paid up members in a racist cult of personality hear that word a lot. But that’s a sickness in your world, not in mine.

  70. James Pearce says:

    @Gustopher:

    Context matters.

    If context matters, then it should be tolerable for white people to say it in non-racist contexts. And yet, in all contexts, white people can’t say it, not even to sing along to Grammy winning songs.

    So no, context doesn’t matter.

  71. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Oh God….I didn’t and don’t support Trump.

    Do I have to scream this so loud it breaks windows? Understand that in your bones and you’ll understand just how dire the situation is for people who share your politics.

    1
    1
  72. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Oh God….I didn’t and don’t support Trump.”

    Once again, ladies and gentlemen, the least self-aware human being on the internet.

  73. James Pearce says:

    @wr: Instead of making this about me, let me tell you about this rapper from Singapore that now goes by the name of Rich Brian. When he first started out, he chose “Rich Chigga” as his rap name. He’s a homeschooled Asian kid from Singapore. He doesn’t know the ins and outs of American racial politics. He just knows he likes hip hop and “the N word” is ubiquitous in the music he likes. He even cut a song using it before someone sat him down and said, “Hey, listen, you can’t really do that…”

    Quoted later, he said of his former stage name: “”I do regret it – I didn’t really know what I was doing and I definitely did not know people were gonna pop off like this.” (My emphasis.)

    That last part is interesting to me. He didn’t know, this non-white aficionado of hip hop music, that he was doing something wrong. After all, he wasn’t trying to be racist. He was emulating his heroes. If that’s wrong, his heroes are wrong too.

    1
    1
  74. An Interested Party says:

    If context matters, then it should be tolerable for white people to say it in non-racist contexts. And yet, in all contexts, white people can’t say it, not even to sing along to Grammy winning songs.

    Awww…poor white people…such victims they are…

  75. de stijl says:

    This is basically the plot to Malibu’s Most Wanted.

  76. wr says:

    @James Pearce: ” He didn’t know, this non-white aficionado of hip hop music, that he was doing something wrong. ”

    He’s from Singapore, where the word doesn’t carry the same history. Words have different values in different cultures. If you call someone a “Paki” here, odds are no one knows what you’re talking about; do it in London and you’ll get a boot up your ass. Meanwhile, in England c*nt is a mild swear, where here it’s about as bad as you can get — so much so that I’m using an asterisk in case it gets caught in the spam filter.

    1
    1
  77. James Pearce says:

    @An Interested Party: You want a pat on the back for missing the point?

    @wr:

    He’s from Singapore, where the word doesn’t carry the same history.

    If you’re going to give the kid from Singapore a pass because “he just doesn’t know” then you should be prepared to do the same for young suburban white kids, who also don’t know and are going to hear racist language in hip-hop music before they learn the history of their racist country.

  78. wr says:

    @James Pearce: If you can’t see a difference between being a foreigner interested in American pop culture and being an American growing up in America — well, there’s no use finishing that sentence, because of course you do. You’re merely pretending not to so you can excuse white racism. Or, to look at it more generously, so you can continue to play “contrarian.” Either way is pretty pathetic, though.

    1
    1
  79. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    You’re merely pretending not to so you can excuse white racism.

    No, I’m trying to patiently explain how a laserlike focus on “white racism” can blind you to some of the other dynamics that are going on. I should have known that would be misconstrued as apologia for “white racism.”

  80. An Interested Party says:

    You want a pat on the back for missing the point?

    No, but you keep stroking your chin while telling everybody that there’s nothing wrong with saying the N word…

  81. James Pearce says:

    @An Interested Party:

    No, but you keep stroking your chin while telling everybody that there’s nothing wrong with saying the N word…

    Still “missing the point.”

    I’m suggesting that the double-standard creates a conflict in our society that is irreconcilable. I’m suggesting that it separates black and white people, alienating them from each other, clearly and forcefully saying “That is yours and this is mine.”

    There is no equality in that kind of separation.

    1
    1
  82. An Interested Party says:

    Who could have guessed that one of the divisive issues of our time is that some people can’t say the N word in polite society…surely some kind of movement can be started to solve this inequality…

  83. James Pearce says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Who could have guessed that one of the divisive issues of our time is that some people can’t say the N word in polite society

    It’s pretty funny/sad that you seem to miss the big implication here, which I’m just going to come out and say, even if it marks me as a paternalistic white dude trying to tell black people what to do.

    No one

    should be using the N word. Pick one standard, and apply it to all.

  84. wr says:

    @James Pearce: ” I should have known that would be misconstrued as apologia for “white racism.””

    It’s funny how so much of what you post here is misconstrued this way — or, similarly, misconstrued as support for Trump.

    Perhaps the problem here is that you are such a bad writer you are not capable of getting a single point across. But that’s being generous.