There’s nothing that could possibly induce Jussie Smollett to take an iota of responsibility for allegedly setting up the most infamous “hate crime” hoax in recent memory.
We’re almost 20 months out from the incident that derailed Smollett’s career.
He hasn’t been convicted in a court of law, mind you, but it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which Smollett was the victim of anything other than one of the most inane and manipulative publicity stunts ever.
Yet, in an interview with former CNN commentator and academic Marc Lamont Hill, the former “Empire” actor insisted he was the martyr here.
According to Fox News, the interview was conducted Wednesday on Instagram.
“What happened in these last two years, it has humbled me in a way that nobody could possibly understand,” Smollett told Hill.
“Out of all these jokers in this entire situation, I am the only human being who has not changed his story one time.”
I mean, except for the numerous times he has changed his story, but never mind. So, what’s the biggest falsehood he’s heard?
“Well, I mean that I did a hoax, obviously,” Smollett said.
“I am a human being like everybody else,” he added. “I ingest the media, I read the headlines, and all that type of stuff. I’ve been guilty of taking things at face value as well. But when you see that happening, and they talking about you, and you know — you know that it’s not true — somehow it becomes different.”
He also said there were witnesses who back up his original story — that he was attacked by two white men who put a rope around his neck and told him that Chicago was “MAGA country.”
“These are the things that people don’t necessarily know because the lies and the things that were not true were yelled from the rooftop,” he said.
“There is a tape … there is something, but of course it cuts off right before it happens.”
Yes — it’s a conspiracy against Jussie Smollett! Hill asked why the tape was cut.
“I certainly didn’t have the power to cut the tape,” Smollett said. “So who cut it?”
So, let’s take stock of this story. You have two hateful Trump supporters who decide to target Smollett, who is maybe the third- or fourth-most-popular person on “Empire.”
Why are these “MAGA country” types watching “Empire”? Who knows. Maybe they thought Fox was airing a Ron White comedy special, saw Smollett’s performance and felt their bubble of white heteronormativity being popped.
So they tracked Smollett to his neighborhood and attacked him — but it wasn’t caught on video. Why?
Because someone cut it. They knew a “hate crime” was being committed against Jussie Smollett and they wanted to frame him. That’s seriously what Smollett wants us to believe.
“It was set up to make it seem like I was lying about something or everything,” Smollett told Hill.
“There would be no reason for me to do something like this,” he said. “There would be no reason for me to do something foolish … and I do think that if you look at all of the things that were happening for me, and then for all of the opportunities and all of the money … whatever, that I have lost at this point, if in fact what they said was true, the smart thing to do would be to admit that. At least there would be a place to work back from. This is bulls—. It’s bulls—.”
Yes, that would be a good idea. A better idea would be to just not talk about this at all with anybody. The matter is currently under adjudication and the actor faces a new round of charges for allegedly lying to police after a call for a renewed investigation by special prosecutor Dan Webb.
Instead, he gives an interview like this where he swears the accusation against him — that he paid two Nigerian brothers $3,500 to attack him because he was unhappy with the attention he was receiving on “Empire” — was just a setup by shadowy figures.
Apparently, he just had to get this off his chest.
“It’s been frustrating to say the least. It’s been frustrating. It’s been beyond frustrating because to be somebody that’s so outspoken, to be somebody that speaks up for so much and speaks up about so many things, it’s been difficult to kinda be, you know, quiet,” Smollett said.
“To not be able to say all of the things that you want to say, to not be able to yell from the rooftop because, I don’t think that people realize I’ve just been wrapped up in some form of a case for the last … approaching, in just a couple months, two years.”
“So it’s been beyond frustrating, and I think that I’m certainly not going rogue, and I’m still taking the advice of my attorneys and everything like that. I just don’t see, honestly, what staying quiet has done, where it’s gotten me,” he added.
“Then there’s the bigger picture that it’s so much bigger than me.”
As for going rogue: Too late. Once you start talking about setups and people cutting video footage to frame you, that’s something his lawyers would probably him rather not do. If this is yelling from the rooftops, yes, staying quiet would have been preferable.
The full interview is here, although be advised it’s over an hour long and Hill is much more interested in connecting this to a larger narrative of the Black Lives Matter movement and racial equity as opposed to, say, holding Smollett’s feet to the fire.
And Smollett tried to connect this to a larger narrative about police and the legal system, telling Hill that authorities “won’t let this go.”
“There is an example being made, and the sad part is that there is an example being made of someone that did not do what they’re being accused of,” he said.
“You’re willing to throw people under the bus that don’t deserve to be. You’re willing to coax people into lying about saying things happened that did not happen, you’re able to switch a narrative and sell a narrative based on the agenda that you’re trying to sell.”
“That is what’s been happening,” he said.
Smollett hasn’t been convicted of a crime, but this isn’t a convincing alternative explanation. Instead, this is an instance of Smollett muddying the water in a weak attempt to connect the case to the Black Lives Matter movement and racial injustice.
The day after this interview, a judge denied a motion to drop the new charges against him, according to USA Today.
Unless Smollett is willing to reach some kind of deal with prosecutors — something that would likely force the actor to admit guilt and that all of this is made up — he’ll end up going to trial. If this is a preview of his defense, I can’t imagine how this ends well for him.