Two Racist & Homophobic Men Brutally Attack Jussie Smollett — It Is a Hate Crime so Call It That
It was reported earlier today that actor Jussie Smollett, best known for playing Jamal on Empire, was the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime by two white men. The Chicago Police department has released a statement that confirms the story that was being shared by TMZ.
Chicago Police Department just sent out this statement re:
Jussie Smollett pic.twitter.com/DxQswZn8xd
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 29, 2019
Sources have reported to TMZ that Smollett arrived in Chicago from New York late Monday, and around 2 AM he was hungry and went to a Subway. Someone yelled, “Aren’t you that f***ot ‘Empire’ n*****?” The men viciously attacked Jussie, they beat him badly and fractured a rib. He did fight back, but they put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him, and it is being reported that as they left they yelled, “This is MAGA country.” Right now the only source for that statement is from someone close to Smollett who told TMZ and it is not on a police report. However, that does not erase that this is a documented hate crime and that even if they didn’t say this is MAGA country, this is the culture that the MAGA has brought.
When I read this story I felt a pain in my chest. The beating, combined with the noose, just made the bile rise up in my mouth. Let’s get it straight this isn’t a “possible” hate crime. These men came with a ski mask and a rope, this was a clear, intentional act of violence that was 100% fueled by homophobia and racism and Jussie Smollett is lucky to be alive, because these men absolutely could have killed him. They wanted him to feel the terror of the possibility of being lynched which tells me that these men are evil and I hope whatever happens to them hurts. And I mean that shit.
Black people, brown people, non-able bodied, LGBTQ+ people and all of us who live at the intersection of identities have been asked to put aside our “identity politics” because they are “divisive” because we are too sensitive. When we bring up the racism that people who support the Trump administration and the MAGA perpetuate, we get asked do we think all of them are racist? Do we think all of them are homophobic and transphobic?
The answer is yes.
The answer is fucking yes.
Because Trump made you bold enough to do this.
When I was a child, my mother was watching a documentary about the Ku Klux Klan and I was watching through a crack in the doorway because I wasn’t supposed to be watching, but I wanted to know. One of the scenes showed a young boy being lynched. In my child mind when I saw this, I saw my younger brother. I broke down into tears and I remember asking my mom, “What did we do? Why do they hate us?” In college, when Trayvon Martin was murdered, I remember looking up his information. He was born February 5, 1995. He was only less than a month older than my brother.
Like many young Black people, it was Martin’s murder that fully awakened me from the bubble that I’d lived in. It was then that I researched the history of lynching in this country. It is brutal, heartless, and completely without compassion. Just like how those men are. They treated Smollett like sport, because to them he was an animal. A nigger and a faggot.
It makes me mad, but it also breaks my heart. It breaks my heart because it reminds of the reason for years I never wanted to have children, biological or adopted. To know that the tiny Black baby that I would have would be seen as lesser in the eyes of this world hurts in a way that can’t be explained. To know that my son/daughter would be seen as a grown up at twelve, to know that their mortality rate goes up higher for being LGBTQ, of being erased at almost every space they could exist in. It breaks my heart. And the reality is that Jussie Smollett’s family is going to have to hear this and know this happened to someone they love.
So when I heard the news about Jussie Smollett, this young gay Black man who was in Chicago and just going to get a sandwich from Subway and ends up being beaten, getting bleach poured him and a noose around his neck … it makes me hate in a way that I don’t even like to think myself capable of.
This is a hate crime. Stop saying racially charged and just say racist. Own that shit because that is what it is and being passive in our decrying of these acts is not just bad reporting, it’s cowardly. Jussie Smollett existed at the intersection of race and queerness and was beaten for it.
(via TMZ, image: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)
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