Flat White

The queer case of Jussie Smollett and postmodern victimhood

18 February 2019

6:38 PM

18 February 2019

6:38 PM

Remember when Bill Shorten was caught out lying on national television about having personally witnessed the homophobic posters, “Stop the Fags”, in Melbourne before the voluntary-non-binding-postal-survey?

He said, “I’ve seen those ridiculous posters in Melbourne, I’ve seen copies of leaflets…” Umm, no you didn’t. You couldn’t have. Because as soon became clear—even by Auntie’s own Media Watch—after an extensive police investigation it was discovered that it was all an elaborate hoax. The posters didn’t exist.

What was even more shocking was that Network Ten’s journalistic bias was also thoroughly exposed for what it truly is. They had to acknowledge that they were guilty of doctoring digital images so as to make it look like the ‘posters’ were being prominently displayed on bus shelters in and around Victoria.

Well, it seems like America has just had its own liar-liar-pants-on-fire (aka “Bill Shorten”) moment after The Guardian reported Empire actor Jussie Smollett had been viciously attacked by two white men who had yelled homophobic slurs at him, doused him with an unknown chemical substance, put a rope around his neck, yelling, “This is MAGA country”.

In a subsequent article, The Guardian also alleged that Smollett believed that he had been specifically targeted due to his outspoken criticisms of the US President. However, not only were the two men at the centre of the saga brothers from Nigeria—and not white as Smollett claimed—but it has also since been reported that the over-dramatic thesp may have actually been responsible for staging the whole thing.

As The New York Times has reported:

Several news outlets, including CNN, reported that law enforcement sources unnamed in the news item said the brothers had told investigators they were paid to take part in a hoax.

As recently as this morning, news.com.au has given even further details of the alleged hoax:

Jussie Smollett allegedly promised to pay two friends $4000 ($A5600) to stage his racist and homophobic assault — which the trio even rehearsed beforehand, according to a new report.

According to the New York Post, the embattled Empire star paid $3500 ($A4900) to bodybuilding brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo before they left for Nigeria the day of the Jan. 29 attack, and promised another $500 ($A700) upon their return to the US, sources told CBS Chicago.

The brothers told police that the alleged attack in Chicago was supposed to happen before Jan. 29 and that they practised it in the days before it happened.

Smollett, 36, also allegedly paid for the rope, which was purchased from the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in the Ravenswood neighbourhood the weekend of Jan. 25.

To be fair, Smollett has vehemently denied having anything to do in staging the attack. But his defence of ‘identity politics’ does seem somewhat hollow in the light of the seriousness of the allegations that he has made. Smollett told Good Morning America’s, Robin Roberts: (view from the seven-minute mark in the video)

It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim or a Mexican or someone black I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more…And that says a lot about the place where we are as a country right now.”

Now, not only did the original story of Smollett’s assault send social media into meltdown, but it also produced one of the most impressive monologues of LGBTIQ outrage in recent memory.

Appearing on the Stephen Colbert show, Ellen Page denounced US Vice President Mike Pence and, especially of his conservative stance against gay marriage, which she argued caused the attack.

Ah, the militant left. They’re always in some kind of confected outrage about something.

I would say that “You can’t make this stuff up”, but it seems that that’s precisely what they do so they can continue framing themselves as the perpetual victim even when they’re not.

Even when, ironically, they who are ones who are responsible for facilitating the falsehood.

Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.

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