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Jussie Smollett and the brotherhood of the traveling MAGA hat

Written By | Jan 12, 2020

WASHINGTON. Last week, a federal judge approved warrants allowing Special Prosecutor Dan Webb access to “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s Google account – with its photos, private messages, and location data. The probe seeks to discover if the actor/singer violated the law by claiming he was a victim of a vicious hate crime in January 2019.

Manufactured outrage

Jussie Smollett speaks with ABC’s Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.” ABC screen capture.

You may recall the fake-news frenzy that followed Smollett’s explosive charge that two MAGA-hatted thugs hurled racial and homophobic slurs his way, beat him, doused him in bleach, placed a rope around his neck, and ended the assault with the ultimate coup de gras: they yelled,

This is MAGA country!

The Washington Post’s Karen Attiah expressed her outrage.

“Yet another reminder that Trump’s ascendance and the resulting climate of hate has meant that lives have been increasingly at stake since 2015.”

California Rep. Maxine Waters added her own measured and thoughtful opinion to the mix during an interview with The Grio:

“It’s coming from the president of the United States. He’s dog-whistling every day. He’s separating and dividing, and he’s basically emboldening those folks who feel this way.”

Fellow “Empire” star Lee Daniels posted an emotional video to Instagram, saying the outrage over the Smollett attack,

“…shows we are united on a united front, and no racist f*ck can come in and do the things that they did to you. Hold your head up Jussie. I’m with you. I’ll be there in a minute because it’s just another f*cking day in America.”
Also Read: Jussie Smollett and Chicago Justice: The intersectionality of Obama’s corruption
Something stinks

But there were aspects to Smollett’s story that struck skeptical observers as odd.

  • According to the Chicago Board of Elections, the City of “Big Shoulders” voted for Hillary Clinton by 83.7 percent in 2016. Trump, on the other hand, received a mere 12.5 percent of the vote. Chicago, where Barack Obama cut his teeth as a race-hustling community organizer, can hardly be described as “MAGA country.”
  • Additionally, the attack occurred at 5 in the morning in subzero temperatures. The result of a polar vortex. As incredulous professional wrestler, actor and political commentator Tyrus observed on Fox News,
    “I can guarantee you that you would see a Black Panther and a Klansman huddling for dear life, saying, ‘Come summer, it’s on. Hold me, it’s cold tonight.’”

    Tyrus, Smollett, Chicago, Hate Crime

    Tyrus. Fox News screen capture.

  • Stranger still, during the alleged beating, in which he claimed to fight back, Smollett never dropped the Subway sandwich he purchased earlier that morning. YouTuber snoopryan thought this made Smollett the perfect pitchman for the sandwich-shop franchise.

Following the evidence

Chicago police, unlike fake-news outlets, took Smollett’s statement, followed the evidence, and smelled a rat. They reported Smollett paid two men, both from Nigeria, $3,500 to stage the attack. According to Chicago’s CBS 2,

“Smollett also directed the brothers to buy the noose at a hardware store and the hats and masks at a store in Uptown.”
Smollett, Chicago, Hate Crime, Chicago Police

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Fox News screen capture.

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson later told reporters,

“My concern is that hate crimes will now publicly be met with a level of skepticism that previously didn’t happen.”
Read Also: Jussie Smollett being charged with Class 4 Felony for hate crime hoax
Rev. Sharpton said what?

As if this story could not get any stranger, the Rev. Al Sharpton weighed in as well. During an episode of his MSNBC show “Politics Nation,” Sharpton said,

“If it is found that Smollett and these gentlemen did in some way perpetrate something that is not true, they ought to face accountability to the maximum.”
Tawana Brawley, Al Sharpton, Hate Crime Hoax

Tawana Brawley speaks to reporters as advisor Al Sharpton looks on. CBS News screen capture.

This from the man who was at the center of the racially-charged Tawana Brawley sexual-assault hoax of the late 1980s (HERE). But Sharpton, ever the race-baiting scoundrel, sought to hide behind President Trump’s coattails.

“Let’s not act like this [Smollett’s ruse] is some left-wing hoax that some are saying on social media. President Trump called this horrible and he’s certainly not a left-winger.”

According to Chicago police, no less than 20 murders and 134 sexual assaults saw their investigations impeded by the inquiry into Smollett’s bogus, racially-charged claims. As Superintendent Johnson told reporters,

“Bogus police reports cause real harm.”

Judge Michael Toomin’s sanctioned warrants ordering Google to hand special prosecutor Dan Webb Smollett’s digital footprint may force the actor, in the words of Rev. Al Sharpton, to “face accountability to the maximum.”

The brotherhood of the MAGA hat
Smollett, Chicago, Hate Crime, MAGA

MAGA hat image from

Recently, CNN was forced to pay millions of dollars in punitive damages for recklessly accusing high-schooler Nickolas Sandmann of racism and physical intimidation.

Smollett’s phantom attackers, like Sandmann, supposedly wore “Make America Great Again” hats. And Smollett instinctively knew the mere mention of MAGA hats would inspire fake-news outlets to begin manufacturing narratives to attack President Trump and his army of “deplorables” as violent racists.

What Trump asked of Jussie Smollett could just as easily be directed at fake-news scribblers:

“What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments? #MAGA.”

I suspect the loud and clear answer will come election day, November 2020.


Top Images: “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. CBS News screen capture.
(Inset) Special Prosecutor Dan Webb. WGN News screen capture.

Steven M. Lopez

Steven M. Lopez

Originally from Los Angeles, Steven M. Lopez has been in the news business for more than thirty years. He made his way around the country: Arizona, the Bay Area and now resides in South Florida.