In light of new information surrounding the alleged hate crime perpetrated against actor Jussie Smollett, who has now been classified as a suspect by Chicago police, many of the same pundits who supported the actor are working to undo the damage they might have done to their own cause.
Smollett reported that he had been the victim of a hate crime, perpetrated by a pair of men wearing “MAGA” hats while out at 2 a.m. in Chicago. Smollett reported that the men poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.
That report, however, has been suspect for some time, and the actor himself is now suspected to have uncastrated the entire event.
CNN’s Don Lemon commented on the headline news story saying only that Smollett had “lost the fight in the court of public opinion.” Lemon also stated that he believed that’s where the battle had to be fought, though he didn’t specify which battle Smollett was called to fight, beyond his own.
“In the court of public opinion, Jussie has lost. He’s lost the fight in the court of public opinion, and that’s where his battle is,” Lemon said.
“He lost that because of how — not his fault — people were, I don’t what they were saying to him. Maybe because of his representatives, who knows, but it was handled poorly.
Another CNN commentator, Van Jones, compared the actor to a modern-day Jackie Robinson, whose boundary-breaking time in Major League Baseball was fraught with persecution and discrimination.
“This is the fall of an icon and I don’t think people understand how important he has been in the black community. ‘Empire’ as a show, to have him as a beloved character, I think did a great deal to knock back homophobia in the black community,” Jones said.
“The fact that he has been celebrated and you see homophobia in the black community through his eyes on the show, this is a Jackie Robinson against homophobia in the black community…”
“And now you have the fall of an icon, at the time when you need an icon when we need heroes.”
CNN's Van Jones on Jussie Smollett: “This is a Jackie Robinson against homophobia in the black community, an icon, a beloved icon” pic.twitter.com/u9Bz7Rs5z1
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 21, 2019