Jussie Smollett charges dropped; locals speak out about Empire actor

Each week, The Beacon’s editorial board will take a stance on a current issue.

If people commit crimes, they should have to face some sort of fair punishment.

On Jan. 22, Fox Empire star Jussie Smollett called police with reports of a threatening letter and a powdery substance at work.

On Jan. 29, Smollett filed a police report of a hate crime. Smollett reported that he was assaulted by two men for being a black, gay man, according to published reports.

When the alleged hate crime was under investigation, it was later discovered that Smollett’s police report was a hoax.

Smollett told police that two men attacked him outside of the Loews Hotel in Chicago while he was walking. The attackers were identified as the Nigerian brothers, Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundario.

Those men were wearing ski masks during the time of the attack and shouting racist and homophobic slurs to defend “MAGA” (Make America Great Again). Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts from staging this false hate crime.

He allegedly paid his coworkers to help him stage this crime.

Smollett claimed that the two brothers, Abel and Ola Osundario, doused him with chemical and then tied a noose around his neck. For this act, the brothers claimed that Smollett payed them $3,500 for the attack. However, Smollett said he paid them that amount for fitness training.

On March 26, all of Smollett’s felony charges that were placed against him were dropped.

In an interview with CNN, Cook County First Assistant State’s Attorney, Joseph Magats said, “The only reason that it’s getting the scrutiny that it is is because of who got the disposition. There are plenty of other cases like this, over 5,700 that have gotten some type of alternative or deferred type of prosecution.”

The black and the LGBTQ communities are outraged about the outcome of Smollett’s case where his charges have been dropped.

According to mechanical engineering student at Wilkes University, Daniel Yenca,

“Jussie Smollett is giving the black community a worse name. By doing something as he did, he is enhancing the stigma that the black community is eccentric and will do anything to get attention.  We are a struggling community as it is and this act makes it even harder to be taken seriously, especially as an academic.”

Staging a false hate crime against someone who is black and gay can also give a negative look at not only the black community, but the LGBTQ community as well.

A member of the LGBTQ community, Mary Endy stated, “This greatly affects our community because if he is really lying about hate crimes against us, we as a community won’t be taken seriously.“

All it takes is one person to create such a case like this is exactly what gives certain a negative stereotype. These communities are struggling as it is, and cases like this makes it more difficult for people in these communities to fit into society.

If any everyday civilian were to stage a hate crime and file a false police report, they would have gotten some sort of punishment. Whether you’re a celebrity with money or not, if you commit a crime, you should have to face some type of prosecution.

That brings us into equal human rights. We live in a society that you can get away with practically anything if you’re in a higher social class.

Wilkes Barre resident and member of the LGBTQ community Beth Farr stated, “I don’t agree with the charges being dropped if it were based solely on the fact he paid off someone to have the charges dropped. I can only hope and pray that wasn’t the case. Our judicial system is doing this at an alarming rate these days, and it’s quite scary and appalling. Everyone should be held responsible for the consequences of their actions, regardless of their financial or social status.”

Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts of staging this false hate crime but all charges were dropped.