Following the arrest of Jussie Smollett on Thursday, with the “Empire” star facing charges of filing a false police report and disorderly conduct after allegedly staging an attack, celebrities and politicians were quick to weigh in on social media.
President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning, “What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?” Several other right-wing commentators denounced the actor’s actions, and wondered if Democratic politicians, like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, would retract their initial support of Smollett.
A SAG-AFTRA spokesperson issued a statement to Variety: “Today’s report of Jussie Smollett’s alleged actions is disheartening. If true, this could lead some to disbelieve future hate crime reports. Notwithstanding this situation, we encourage others to join us in continued support for marginalized communities who are all too often the victims of intolerance and brutality.”
Los Angeles LGBT center released this statement, “The confusing and deeply unfortunate circumstances surrounding Jussie Smollett should not cloud the sobering facts about hate crimes in our nation. According to a report released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, hate crimes in our country’s largest cities increased for the fifth consecutive year in 2018—with Los Angeles receiving its highest level of hate crime reports in a decade. Do not be distracted by Mr. Smollett’s alleged staged attack. Hate crimes, particularly against people of color and the LGBT community, are real and on the rise. These facts should alarm all of us.”
The center then offered their help for anyone who has experienced an anti-LGBT hate crime, discrimination, harassment or police misconduct.
Color of Change and GLAAD sent out a combined statement also focusing on the pressing statistics of hate crimes against those in the LGBTQ community.
“As we learn more details about Jussie’s arrest, we remain focused on the urgent fight against the very real issues of racism, homophobia, and hate violence.” The statement read. “FBI data shows that hate crimes are on the rise nationwide and that fact cannot get lost in the discussion around Jussie’s arrest. While Jussie’s situation is troubling and concerning, anyone who is a victim of hate violence should never be hesitant to speak out and share their stories.”
Talks shows, like “The View” and “The Daily Show,” also tackled the controversial case. Alongside host Trevor Noah, comedian Jaboukie Young-White used his viewpoint as a gay black man to unpack Smollett’s actions.
When the alleged assault on Smollett was originally reported on Jan. 29, many celebrities were outspoken with their support. Since then, some have deleted their posts following Smollett’s arrest, like Jordan Peele, Michael B. Jordan, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
However, others have kept their posts up, like Lena Waithe, Lee Daniels, and Harris, and have yet to comment on Smollett’s charges. Actress Yvette Nicole-Brown wrote of her original statement, “I won’t delete it. It’s how I felt. I don’t hide from how I feel or what I stand for, even as situations change.”
Fellow actors, like Patton Oswalt, Andy Cohen, and O’Shea Jackson Jr., also expressed their frustration with the hoax.
Several celebrities, like director Tyler Perry, and organizations, like Out Magazine, wished the attention that Smollett received would be given to real crimes.
View this post on Instagram
How I wish that the disappearance of Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos could get half as much attention as this Jussie Smollett thing. I have personally spoken to Jussie, and he is adamant that he’s telling the truth. Also, everyone that I know who knows him says that he is not the kind of person who would make up such a horrible and awful thing. Yet the evidence seems to state otherwise. I’m lost for words. To stoke fears and raise racial tensions is wrong in every situation on ALL SIDES! Yet my prayers are still with him and his family and our Nation. CAN WE PLEASE STOP THE HATE!