New York Times columnist Charles Blow argued on Thursday that Jussie Smollett “didn’t set race relations back” in America.
The Empire actor has been charged with filing a false police report after he claimed that two racist and homophobic supporters of President Donald Trump attacked him, put a noose around his neck, and hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him in addition to yelling “this is MAGA country.” All of this, Smollett claimed, happened in Chicago in near subzero temperatures.
But Blow believes Smollett didn’t “set race relations back” because there are “racists in the White House and millions who support them.”
“Also, #JussieSmollett didn’t ‘set race relations back.’ We have racists in the White House and millions who support them. ‘Race relations’ were already in shambles,” Blow tweeted.
Also, #JussieSmollett didn’t “set race relations back.” We have racists in the White House and millions who support them. “Race relations” were already in shambles.
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) February 22, 2019
Blow also said that feeling “empathy for someone who said hey were a victim” like Smollett is a “natural, normal human response.”
“Also, don’t beat yourself for feeling empathy for someone who said they were a victim,” Blow said, tweeting about an actor who allegedly had himself beaten because he was not happy with his salary (reportedly over $1 million) on Empire. “That’s a natural, normal human response. #JussieSmollett.”
On Thursday, Cook County Assistant District Attorney Ressa Lanier revealed that Smollett tried to mislead authorities into believing that his attackers were white even though he allegedly paid $3,500 to two Nigerian-American brothers to orchestrate the “hate crime” against him.
On Good Morning America, Smollett said: “It feels like, if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more–a lot more.”
“These statements, by Smollett, further misled the police and the public, to believe his attackers, were white,” Lanier told reporters.