Jussie Smollett is an actor who gained notoriety after claiming to have been a victim of a hate crime perpetrated by white supporters of President Donald Trump in January 2019 in his hometown of Chicago. After police determined that Jussie Smollett worked with colleagues to create a fake hate crime, they pressed 16 felony charges against him, which were all dropped on March 26 2019. Joe Magats, the first assistant state's attorney claimed that Jussie Smollett was "not exonerated", but charges were dropped against him because "...we work to prioritize violent crime and the drivers of violent crime".
Jussie Smollett comes from a highly political family.
- "The Smolletts have also been outspoken politically and, since their school years, devoted to causes like H.I.V./AIDS prevention and ending apartheid. They were raised in the orbit of the Black Panthers and, lately, have lent their voices to the Black Lives Matter movement. Their trajectory, from child stars to successful adults, is born of their family and its history of activism.
- "“Their sense of justice is very strong, and it permeates everything that they do,” said Alfre Woodard, who has known Jussie and Jurnee Smollett since they were children; they worked with her at the nonprofit Artists for a New South Africa. “They’re like a model sibling unit. They look out for each other, all the time. And they all reach across and say, ‘O.K., I got my foot in this door; here, grab my hand, we’re going in together.’”
- "“Raised on a diet of classic films (they’ll gladly quote the 1945 version of “Mildred Pierce”), Jussie and Jurnee still count their mother, Janet Smollett, as their only acting coach. An African-American from New Orleans, Ms. Smollett met their father, Joel Smollett Sr., a Russian-Polish Jew, in the Bay Area, where they campaigned for civil rights. “My mom was in the movement with Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, and one of her first mentors was Julian Bond,” Mr. Smollett said of the Black Panthers founders and the civil rights leader. “To this day, Angela Davis is one of her dearest friends. We’ve spent Mother’s Day with Angela.”
- "That gave extra resonance to a sequence in “Empire” last season, when Jamal and his onscreen brother Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) dressed as Black Panthers as part of a music-video shoot. Besides seeding the family with an early progressive ethos — Jussie and Jurnee were both with Artists for a New South Africa as teenagers, “and it was not fake work,” Ms. Woodard said of their fund-raising efforts and off-camera visits to orphanages — the activism also had an impact on their sense of worth.
Maxine Waters refers to herself as family friend of Smolletts
In an article posted at RealClearPolitics in the wake of the alleged hate crime against Jussie Smollett, Maxine Waters blamed President Donald Trump and claimed to be a friend of the Smollett family:
- "Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) said President Trump is responsible for the attack on gay 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett in an interview with 'The Grio.' Waters said Trump's "dog whistling" is "emboldening" people.
- "It’s coming from the president of the United States. He’s dog whistling every day. He’s separating and dividing, and he’s basically emboldening those folks who feel this way," Waters said.
- "REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): I know Jussie. I love him. His family’s a friend of mine. I know his sisters, I know his mom, and I called already to Jazz, one of the sisters, to talk to her about what’s happening, about what’s going on...
- "I’m pleased that he’s doing okay. But we have to understand this is happening for a reason. Why all of a sudden do we have people unable to study while black, unable to mow a lawn while black, unable to have picnic while black, and being attacked?
- "It’s coming from the president of the United States. He’s dog whistling every day. He’s separating and dividing, and he’s basically emboldening those folks who feel this way
- "When I heard about what had happened to Jussie, and I heard they put a rope around him, and they poured bleach on him and stuff, I was absolutely, very upset. So I’m feeling better that he’s okay, and I am looking forward to seeing him.
Jussie Smollett Case Dropped
Kim Foxx gained national coverage on March 26 2019 for the role of her office in dropping all 16 felony charges against alleged hate crime hoaxer Jussie Smollett. Foxx had "formally recused herself from the case in February because she had spoken with Smollett’s family." The decision to drop the charges was officially made by Joe Magats, first assistant state’s attorney.
On March 26 2019, Julie Bosmon of the New York Times tweeted that "Joe Magats, the first assistant state's attorney who made the final decision to drop the charges against Jussie Smollett, says in an interview: 'We didn't exonerate him.'" Further on the same Twitter Thread:
- "Magats, the asst state's atty, said he saw no problems with the police investigation or the evidence against Smollett. The charges against Smollett were dropped in return for his agreement to do community service, he said, and for forfeiting his bond to the city of Chicago."
- "More from the asst state's attorney: "Here's the thing -- we work to prioritize violent crime and the drivers of violent crime. Public safety is our number one priority. I don't see Jussie Smollett as a threat to public safety."
- ""We stand behind the investigation, we stand behind the decision to charge him and we stand behind the charges in the case. The mere fact that it was disposed of in an alternative manner does not mean that there were any problems or infirmities in the case or the evidence."
- https://www.unz.com/isteve/how-close-are-jussie-and-kamala/ How Close Are Jussie and Kamala? accessed March 26 2019
- https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/13/arts/television/the-smollett-family-business-acting-and-activism.html The Smollett Family Business: Acting and Activism accessed March 26 2019
- https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/01/30/maxine_waters_blames_trump_for_attack_on_empire_actor_hes_emboldening_people.html Maxine Waters Blames Trump For Attack On 'Empire' Actor: He's "Emboldening" People accessed March 26 2019
- https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/03/26/george-soros-donated-408k-to-kim-foxx-prosecutor-who-let-jussie-smollett-walk/ George Soros Donated $408k to Kim Foxx, Prosecutor in Jussie Smollett Case accessed March 26 2019
- https://twitter.com/juliebosman/status/1110590957664288768 accessed March 26 2019