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Straight, white people are outraged that charges were dropped in the Jussie Smollett case

Jussie Smollett
Photo: Wikipedia

News that prosecutors dropped all charges against actor Jussie Smollett has united straight, white people from across the political spectrum in outrage.

Smollett was indicted on 16 charges related to allegedly faking a homophobic and racist hate crime against himself in Chicago this past January.

Yesterday, his lawyers announced that the charges against him were dropped in a plea deal in which Smollett agreed to two days of community service and $10,000 in court fees.

In a statement this morning, Smollett said that he has been honest about what happened since the beginning.

“I want you to know that not for a moment has it been in vain,” Smollett said in a prepared statement.

“I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I have been accused of.”

Related: Ellen & Kevin Hart are getting torn apart on Twitter for their Jussie Smollett tweets

Cook County prosecutors, though, insisted that there was no hate crime and that he faked it, but they also said that plea deals of this nature are “standard procedure.”

“He is not the victim of a hate crime,” assistant Cook County attorney Joseph Magats told The Today Show.

“It is not something that is unique,” he said about the deal. “It’s not the first time that this has happened.”

Straight white people were outraged by the result. On the right, commentators said that this is evidence of how Democrats don’t get prosecuted.

Others said that the story proves that racism and homophobia don’t exist.

Piers Morgan, who never cared about hate crimes, said that Smollett “lynched the truth” because conservatives often don’t care about lynching either.

And some conservatives insinuated that the prosecutors bent to political pressure, even though plea deals are pretty common in the U.S.

Even straight, white Democrats were upset by the decision. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel appeared on several television programs to say that he was mad that Smollett has not apologized and is acting like he did nothing wrong.

“He’s walking around like he’s exonerated, with no sense of remorse or contrite,” Emmanuel said on CNN. “He’s taken [hate crimes law], turned it upside-down and inside-out, used it for himself.”

Emmanuel said that no one is going to believe other victims of hate crimes because of Smollett. The mayor even used the passive voice to describe police not believing victims, a subtle technique to absolve law enforcement officials of responsibility if they ignore hate crimes.

“What happens to the young man who wants to in the future come forward because he has been the victim of a hate crime? Or somebody in a place of employment where there’s actually a noose left at their desk or at their lock, are they going to be not willing to come forward because they’re going to be questioned?”

Late night comics like Stephen Colbert joked about the story.

Many prominent people of color, though, looked at the story differently. Some compared it to the Chicago Police Department’s cover-up of Laquan McDonald’s death.

Journalist Soledad O’Brien brought up how Mayor Emmanuel never seemed this bothered by police brutality.

Former Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) posted a longer message on Facebook, discussing how prosecutors used their discretion in the Smollett case in the same way that they do when white people from the suburbs arrange plea deals.

Prosecutorial discretion.In the Matter of Jussie Smollett vs. the City of Chicago and the Democratic Machines…

Posted by Jesse Jackson Jr. on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill discussed how people are still assuming that law enforcement is telling the truth, said that the charges against Smollett, even if he was guilty, were “absurd,” and called out how the prosecution and then the exoneration were discussed on social media.

A few thoughts on Jussie Smollett.1) I don't know what's true or what's not, but I suspect everybody involved wasn't…

Posted by Marc Lamont Hill on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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