That Smollet is a supposed celebrity is irrelevant.
It's relevant in that his celebrity was one of the things that brought the story national attention. It's a good bet that if he'd not been a celebrity, there would not have been the national attention, and would not have been the enormous pressure placed on the Chicago police to basically drop other cases to investigate his. So definitely relevant in terms of impact on police. But not so in terms of the general issue of hate crimes and hate crime hoaxes.
He was a black man that (allegedly) faked a hate crime on himself. That right there makes it weird.
I'm not sure why you think that's strange. Since Trump was elected, the trope of "white maga hat wearing person assaulted me for being <gay/female/black/hispanic/whatever> has risen significantly, and it's pretty shocking how consistently these stories, especially the most shocking or brazen, turn out to be hoaxes. This article
does a decent job examining the issue (briefly, but it at least looks at it). It's not like USA Today is a bastion of conservative thought, so take what you will from it.
The point is that this becomes a sort of feed back effect. So many people make these false claims, and we see them in the news all the time, that despite so many of them turning out to be false (I can't actually think of one that received national media attention that *wasn't* false), it still forms an opinion in people's minds that this sort of thing must be happening. And even if this specific one was a hoax, there must be others, so it's ok. We're just "raising awareness" of the issue. Except that the trope itself leads to people assuming it must be happening. Which in turn leads to people thinking "I know! I'll do some violent or damaging thing and blame it on bigoted Trump supporters. Cause everyone will believe that!". Except that, while the media and public might, the police do get that so many of these are over the top and almost certainly hoaxes. As the article points out, how many bigoted Trump supporters just happen to be roaming around the Chicago streets, carrying a bottle of bleach and a rope, and who would recognize a cast member from Empire?
In hindsight, it looks pretty ridiculous right off the bat. But so many people bought it precisely because of the false narrative. It's the same reason people bought the whole Covington school kinds thing. Well, that kids wearing a MAGA hat, and the narrator of the new story is telling me that he was the one instigating some kind of violence or hate, so despite the fact that the video didn't show him doing anything at all, or saying anything hateful, and in fact showed another man getting right in his face and banging a drum, I'll believe the narrative, because we all know that MAGA hat wearing people are hateful people, so even though I don't actually see any act of hate going on, I'll accept that it did. Maybe it was off camera or something. Maybe.
Here's another article
with a list (not complete by any means) of such fake hate crime hoaxes. Want to know what stands out:
Turns out the arsonist was Andrew McClinton, 48, an African-American member of the church.
It was the gay organ player who did it.
...Seweid admitted she made the whole thing up because sheâ€™d been out late drinking with friends and was afraid her strict Muslim Egyptian father would be angry.
A former student, African-American Eddie Curlin, 29, was eventually caught.
...an arrest was finally made in many of the incidents: that of a 19-year-old Jewish Israeli-American named Michael Ron David Kadar.
Thompson, a black journalist, had previously been fired from The Intercept for making up sources and stories.
It turns out that the comments were written by one of the African-American cadets.
African-American Adwoa Lewis ... later admitted to making the story up
The culprit? Gay African-American James Polite
But it turned out one of those graffitiâ€™d names, Flynn Arthur, 21, was the person responsible. The biracial lacrosse player ...
...the investigation led to the arrest of two African-Americans
(this one at least the victim didn't falsely make the claim, various civil rights folks did. Loudly. But it was an African-American, David Smith III, who had thrown bricks through the doors.
Surely, you can see the pattern here. I hope. That's a whole lot of people who fall into one of the standard liberal identity groups that the Left claims to help and insists are harmed by conservative ideals (and especially by Trump).
What's amazing about this is that there is no hesitancy when someone on the right says something that might even remotely be judged to be some sort of dog whistle, on the grounds that it might encourage someone to do something violent or illegal in response. Yet this same sort of dog whistle goes on all the time on the Left. They outright claim that folks wearing maga hats are haters. And then they stand by and pretend not to be at fault when folks wearing maga hats are assaulted
or falsely accused of crimes.
How much evidence do you need of this? The hate is not going from right to left, it's going from left to right. It is conservatives who are attacked on the streets, and on school campuses, and sometimes just walking down the street, for the supposed "hate crime" of wearing a hat and expressing their first amendment rights. But when you have folks like Alysa Milano declaring the maga hat to be equivalent to a klan hood, what do you expect? Why are we surprised that assaults on conservative have increased, while false claims of attacks *by* conservatives has done the same. And all the while, the media does everything it can to stoke that false narrative. But, minor crime - evidence mostly based on hearsay, pain in the *** to prosecute and litigate and easier to make a deal - so one was made. The kind of thing that goes on all the time with middle-class privilege in this country.
Again though, for many of us, it's not that Smollet didn't get jail time, or whatever. It's not that he got a deferment or "alternative prosecution" or whatever the DA is claiming. It's not uncommon for first time offenders to get a warning and a fine but to not have an actual charge on their record. And it doesn't just happen for folks with privilege. It happens all the time. No. The real problem here is how she did it. Normally, in order to get that kind of "first time offense drop", you have to go into court, admit what you did, publicly state that it was wrong and you understand that, and you promise not to do something like this again. Then the court drops the charges. But Smollet was not required to do this. And you've got to wonder why. It's almost like the primary objective of the (very politically connected) DA was to protect the false "maga hat wearers are violent haters" narrative. By doing what she did she allowed Smollet to go running to the media and proclaim that he did nothing wrong, he didn't lie, and everything was the truth. And we have nothing but a sealed and erased set of legal documents to say otherwise.
That's the ugliest part of this. That wasn't done to protect Smollet, or expedite anything. It was done for pure political purposes. It was done by someone who very well understands the political value of the narrative, and doesn't want it to be publicly eroded by such a high profile hoax in the lead up to the next election. She understands that the best chance the Democrats have of winning the White House is not by their own agenda or political positions, but by demonizing Trump and anyone who supports him. They want people to be afraid to be associated with Trump. They want anyone who might consider voting for Trump to worry that they might be lumped in with "those people" (basket of deplorables anyone?. That's what this is about. If you can't win on ideas and policies, win by making people fear and hate the other side. But then Mayor Rahm screams out his elitism by publicly claiming it was a whitewash of justice - this is the click bait that got me.
When Rahm Emmanuel and folks on the Right are in agreement on something, maybe you ought to take notice. Just a thought. Edited, Apr 1st 2019 5:34pm by gbaji