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Jussie Smollett and the rush to judgment

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Some readers are so eager to react to what I write that they don't always bother to wait for me to write it.

"You should write about the Smollett hoax," said one reader's email earlier this week. "But you won't."

Au contraire, my friend. I accept that challenge.

"When do I get to see a column about the 'Empire' star's scam that nobody questioned?" another wrote. "I guess he lives in the no-touch territory?"

Hardly. These readers, as you may have guessed, are referring to "Empire" singer and actor Jussie Smollett, who made headlines recently as an alleged victim of a hate crime in Chicago, only to see his story challenged.

Stories change when real facts come in, but some people suspect that a partisan bias drives everything in media, especially when the news involves a liberal.

 

This saga began Jan. 29 in the wee hours of a very cold night in the Streeterville neighborhood in downtown Chicago, when Smollett told police that he had been beaten, doused with a liquid that appeared to be bleach and left with a noose around his neck by two men wearing ski masks.

The men shouted anti-black and anti-gay slurs, said Smollett, an openly gay African-American who also plays one on "Empire." He said the two men also shouted, "This is MAGA country," referencing the acronym for President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."

Well, faster than you can say "intersectionality," voices of outrage and sympathy erupted from Hollywood to Capitol Hill.

"The racist, homophobic attack on @JussieSmollett is an affront to our humanity," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, tweeted -- and then later deleted.

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(c) 2019 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

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