FLASHBACK: ADL Said Jussie Smollett Attack Showed ‘Homophobia and Racism that Plagues our Society’

Jonathan Greenblatt (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)
Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press
JOEL B. POLLAK

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) claimed last month that the reported “hate crime” against Hollywood actor Jussie Smollett was “a disturbing reminder of the terrible homophobia and racism that plagues our society.”

In a statement, ADL president Jonathan Greenblatt said: “We call on police to investigate this vile incident as a hate crime and work swiftly to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice.”

On Thursday, Smollett surrendered to Chicago police to face a felony charge of filing a false police report. He is believed to have staged the attack.

Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson, who is black, blasted Smollett for taking “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” adding: “Celebrities, news commentators and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor.”

Neither the ADL nor Greenblatt have responded since Smollett’s arrest. (See update below.)

Under Greenblatt, a former Obama administration official, the ADL has led the charge in painting a portrait of an America consumed by rising bigotry since President Donald Trump’s election.

Even after a spate of hundreds of hoax bomb threat were shown to have been carried out by a disturbed Jewish American teenager in Israel and a left-wing journalist, the ADL still included the threats in its 2017 “audit” of antisemitic incidents in the U.S.

Without the hoax threats, the reported increase in antisemitic incidents was far more modest. The number of physical assaults against Jews dropped by almost half.

Update: On Thursday afternoon, Greeblatt published an op-ed at CNN in which he admitted that the Smollett attack was “possibly bogus” and argued: “The rare instances of false claims must not overshadow the alarming increase in hate crimes.”

He also tweeted:

The ADL added an update to its statement on the case, noting: “Police now allege that Mr. Smollett fabricated the crime.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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