Professor John McWhorter of Columbia University appeared on Don Lemon’s CNN show to talk about Jussie Smollett’s hate crime hoax, claiming that Smollett saw the hate hoax as a path to greater fame than his acting alone could achieve.
Appearing on the program to speak about a column he wrote for The Atlantic, Columbia University Professor John McWhorter explained the motivations behind Jussie Smollett’s hate crime hoax.
McWhorter makes the case that Smollett took cues from the lessons learned from the Covington incident. Primarily, Smollett realized that America is quick to side with alleged victims, even with the facts don’t support the narrative. Moreover, Smollett realized the virtue of being a victim in the social justice age.
He didn’t get this out of nowhere. This is a young man who figured out that he can be more interesting as someone who was jumped by MAGA-shouting white guys than he as the very deft star of a very interesting TV show. So what this means is that in a way all of us are culpable in that if we are part of this us, we look at this Covington kid and we look at one millisecond of his smile and we decide that he symbolizes the racism of all of America, when really it was just a millisecond of that kid walking by somebody and not smiling with his teeth showing. And intelligent people think of themselves of being ahead of the curve in seeing that as a summation of American history.
McWhorter went on to make the case that Smollett wanted to exploit our cultural moment’s insistence on punishing conservatives for their political beliefs. According to McWhorter, Smollett believed rightfully that many on the American left would rush to his defense, even if the attack was entirely fabricated.
He knows that here in America, not only do we know that racism and homophobia exist, and we should, but he knows that we have gotten to the point that we are so bent on demonizing people like that Covington kid, demonizing somebody who voted for Donald Trump because they didn’t prioritize racism as much as some of us do, that he actually thought it would be a good idea to create something like this and become more famous than he was.
You can watch McWhorter’s appearance in its entirety below.