Unraveling the Jussie Smollett Case: LGBT Identity and Media Controversy
Jussie Smollett’s Tangled Controversy
The star of Empire, Jussie Smollett, is currently facing a disturbing controversy that has the feeling of an actual Empire show. The recent rumors and allegations are creating a link between a potential hate crime attack and Smollett’s current occupation (Veneable). This controversy has had a huge impact on Empire’s storyline and reignited the discussion about hate crimes in America. Although Chicago Police are questioning whether the crime committed against Smollett was real, people following the story are left with the question of whether the attack is fact or fiction.
Changes to Empire’s Storyline
TMZ reports Empire is currently in production of its fifth season, and the series’ staff has been said to be busier than ever due to rewrites eliminating Jussie Smollett’s character, Jamal Lyon, from several of the main scenes. There have been claims which stated that Smollett was a part of nine scenes in one of the episodes while also being included in a big musical performance of some kind. After the recent controversy, fans can expect to see him in only half of the scenes he was set to originally star in Venable.
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Rumors from Empire fans also claim that of the four of the nine scenes Smollett was originally set to star in, his character will no longer possess the lead role. Rather, he will “blend” in with other lesser-known characters Venable. Executives of the show undoubtedly have taken precautions in the event that one of their main stars is creating a false controversy, even though they have made public claims that they believe Smollett’s story.
The LGBT and Black Communities Perspective
Another reason this story is so controversial is that Jussie Smollett has claimed that the attacks on him were hate crimes. Smollett affiliates himself with both the Black and LGBT community, both of which have been subject to unnecessary hatred. People in America hear about police brutality towards the Black community along with stories of discrimination towards members of the LGBT all the time. Many individuals of both discourses have even been killed for being a part of those societies, such as Trayvon Martin and the many people killed in the mass shooting at the gay Orlando nightclub. Smollett being a member of both societies doubles his chances of being targeted by individuals who hate either community.
The Ongoing Investigation
Currently, Chicago police are investigating whether Smollett had staged his attack and paid co-workers to “jump” him. If the investigation finds Smollett guilty, then it will be truly disappointing to the communities he claims to represent. Police believe he may have pulled this stunt to gain PR, and if so, then Smollett would have failed to recognize that brutality and hatred towards the Black and LGBT communities is no joke. In fact, it is very serious, and his story may affect future victims who are subject to such crimes.
As of February 21, 2019, Smollett has been arrested and faces felony charges for a false police report. The Chicago police are now identifying him as a suspect after the “alleged” two men who attacked Smollett claim that he paid them to stage an attack. Police also believe that they have evidence which answers all the questions for this investigation.
- Venable, N. (2019, February 22). How Empire Is Handling Jussie Smollett In The Wake Of The Alleged Attack. CinemaBlend. https://www.cinemablend.com/television/2467179/how-empire-is-handling-jussie-smollett-in-the-wake-of-the-alleged-attack
- Burch, A. (2019, February 21). Jussie Smollett, Once a Dismissed Defendant, Is Indicted on 16 Counts. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/arts/television/jussie-smollett-charges.html
- Gooden, T. (2016). Jussie Smollett: Proud and black, gay and talented. Ebony, 71(3), 52-58.
- Asmelash, L., & McLaughlin, E. C. (2019, February 21). Jussie Smollett is now a suspect in criminal investigation for filing false police report, police say. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/20/entertainment/jussie-smollett-attack/index.html
- Gray, L., & Khazan, O. (2019, February 21). What Jussie Smollett’s Alleged Hoax Reveals. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/02/jussie-smollett-case-shows-limits-progress/583356/