Why let a hoaxer off the hook?
By fabricating “an elaborate hate crime,” Jussie Smollett inadvertently did the country “a great service,” said Noah Rothman. The actor’s assault in January at the hands of two “MAGA hat–clad racist homophobes” was quickly outed as a hoax, focusing public attention on the scourge of “false hate-crime reports.” The media circus typically leaves town by the time such allegations are debunked, creating the false impression that the U.S. “is awash in hatred.” Now Smollett, who co-stars on Fox’s Empire, has provided a further service by exposing “the hypocrisy of the justice system.” In a “bizarre” move last week, Chicago prosecutors dropped charges against Smollett for filing a false police report. Prosecutors maintain Smollett is guilty but say that they’re satisfied with his community service and decision to forfeit his $10,000 bond to the city. An incensed Mayor Rahm Emanuel pointed out that Smollett’s bond doesn’t come close to covering the cost of investigating his case—24 detectives working hundreds of hours. Smollett, meanwhile, is insisting he’s innocent, despite dividing a city and the nation. If his supporters were consistent, they’d call the special treatment of a celebrity’s crime “a grave injustice. But they’re not, and we all know why.”