Yesterday, Empire actor Jussie Smollett, whom had been supposedly attacked by two racist, Trump supporting individuals, is facing a Class 4 felony charge that could amount to a 3 year sentence if found guilty. Today, he posted a $100,000 dollar bond following a report released that 2 brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, confessed that Smollett paid them $3,500 dollars to stage the attack (CNN.com). Text message records confirm that Smollett requested for help on the low and to talk in person regarding the request. While this is very troubling, there are 2 major aspects of this incident that highlights two intertwined, dynamic affairs occurring in the United States today, partisan politics and “fake” news.
Smollett’s decision to stage a high-profile incident by attempting to be a victim of a hate crime shows the capacity within an individual in this political climate to not only gravitate attention to their platform they’re using, but to also attempt to gain social and political leverage towards the greater agenda they subscribe to. It takes an elevated level of ego and partisanship to use your identity, and body as sacrifice in this case, as a ploy for a high profile narrative to fit the agenda you subscribe to. In one story (of multiple), it was reported that one of the attacker’s said “This is MAGA country” (Aol.com)
The president commented through a tweet stating “What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?”. It’s become far too common that there is either actual fake news, as the president labels it, arising in the headlines or some sort of politically charged story impacting the relevant news. The fragility of our society due to intolerance is quite disturbing when you think about it. It comes from the constant disputing within the small talk all the way to headlines of our political and social discourse. The new age, that which has delivered instantaneous communication, has exposed how false narratives and (or) reporting can create havoc among the connection we have with one another, but most importantly the progress we need to make. Smollett’s actions will be a reminder that the nature of the reasoning for his his actions is thriving strong and can only be defeated through a conscientious reminder that as when you say it’s either sink or swim, truth or lie, it’s either bi-partisanship or nothing.