It seems the curious case of actor Jussie Smollett continues to grow more bizarre each day, even down to the name of the shop in which the alleged “noose” rope was purchased: The Crafty Beaver Hardware Store. I mean c’mon, really?
Putting such giggle-worthy trivialities aside, Towle Road is reporting that two anonymous sources have told CBS Chicago that Jussie was behind the creation of a threatening letter that was sent to the studio where Empire is shot. The letter was received on January 22nd and laden with odd, grade school-like drawings in red marker, hate filled messaging and a suspicious, white powdery substance that turned out to be crushed up aspirin.
In accordance with this new report comes even more clarification of the two brother’s who were arrested, then later released by Chicago PD. Originally, it was reported that the brothers were Nigerian, which sparked a gazillion Nigerian-internet-scam themed memes, but as it turns out, they are actually American – born and raised in Chicago.
But let me get back to the threatening letter sent to the Empire set back in January. When I first read this had occurred weeks prior to the alleged assault, I literally thought, “Huh? Who does that in 2019?” It was sort of like a weird homage to serial killers of the 1970s. It seemed awfully time consuming in today’s fast-paced society that criminals would sit down to an arts and craft styled, magazine-cut-out letter, all glued up to form phrases. Seriously, like what in the Patty Hearst kidnapping hell was happening here?
I wondered too, why this had not been all over the air waves when the alleged letter was first received. I mean one of the top stars of a major, hit TV show get’s a life-threatening note made of magazine cut-outs, covered in white substance resembling Anthrax … and the media barely responded. Well, this might prove to be an important driver of the story as according to multiple sources, brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo claim Smollett staged the alleged homophobic and racist attack after his fake threat letter failed to garner big media attention. They claim It was his plan B.
This new accusation joins the list of components of Jussie’s Smollett’s account that simply don’t add up, and that doesn’t mean he’s lying but it does make it harder to believe him. I remain torn in this story. I’ve shared in previous coverage that I feel victims of assault should be believed while their stories are investigated. However, in such a high-profiled case, fueled by millions of ever-ready opinions on social media, a truly conflicted dichotomy of what’s at stake here has emerged. This now is much bigger than Jussie Smollett. This is about all of us.
What may have started out as a basic assault claim from one man, now represents the struggles of an entire LGBTQ community that has fought a decades–long fight for hate crime and workplace protections. This struggle includes the witnessing of abuses and death brought to lovers and friends through violent acts of bias over the years, now further facilitated today by a presidential administration that rolls back American LGBTQ rights at every turn, stokes fears of gay people and bans trans soldiers from the military. As if all that wasn’t tumultuous enough, now add in the racial component lens through which Black America is viewing the Jussie Smollett story, citing an unsavory past of the Chicago PD, one in which the department has been accused of framing black people for crimes they did not commit.
I don’t need to lay out the obvious of how this could turn into a field day for the MAGA hat loving Trump supporters. For many it already has. Just keeping it real here, dare I say their field day would be justified if in fact, this all turns out to have been a hoax – one that most likely would come with some jail time.
This piece is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.