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Reactions to Jussie Smollett’s arrest on allegedly faking own attack

Jussie Smollett

Actor Jussie Smollett in 2017. | AP file photo

As news broke of “Empire” star Jussie Smollett’s arrest for allegedly faking a racist and homophobic attack because he was unhappy with his salary, local leaders, the president and others spoke out Thursday:

Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston
“For Smollett to be so socially deaf, blind and selfish to the world inhabited by his Empire fans — straight, gay, rich, poor, brown, black, yellow and white — is an insult to all but especially to the black community in Chicago where young black men are perishing at an alarming rate. Smollett exploited two young African immigrant brothers to help him stage this hoax. It’s obvious that he cares about no one but himself. . . . Smollett’s sinful disdain for everyone but himself could make relationships in this town that are already bad, worse. His punishment should be harsh enough to be a deterrent to others who might be weak minded enough to succumb to such foolish, misanthropic reasoning.”

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush
“Like many Americans, I was shocked when I heard about the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett. I called on the FBI to immediately open an investigation because the reported details rose to the level of what constitutes a hate crime. But, now we know that this reported attack was a total and complete lie. I am beyond disappointed and extremely infuriated at Smollett’s brazen, devious, and disgraceful behavior. I am outraged that he orchestrated an inflammatory story, which he knew would further divide this nation. He was aware that hate crimes are on the rise and — in an act of self-centered desperation and stupidity — he tried to inject himself into the center of a narrative that is rightfully focused on actual victims.I remain baffled that he would stoop to such a low level and he should be ashamed of himself for this selfish and immoral act. I commend the Chicago Police Department and their law enforcement partners for their relentless search for the truth and call on them to hold Smollett fully accountable for his disgusting, deplorable, and despicable actions.”

Rev. Michael Pfleger
“This morning we are hearing that over 20 Detectives were used in the Jussie Smollett investigation over the last few weeks..No one was seriously injured, shot or Killed…..Yet, on the South and West Sides we have HUNDREDS of Unsolved cases of Children Shot and Killed, and parents can’t even get a call back from a Detective……Somebody needs to explain WHY??????”

Donald Trump
“@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA”

Patton Oswalt
“Way to go Jussie. You just handed this racist dip—- a “Get Out Of Race-Baiting Free” card that he’s gonna wave around like a soiled diaper until he’s re-elected.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign
“Today’s news about #JussieSmollett is both devastating & frustrating. But I want to ask everyone feeling angry, hurt & disappointed to channel that into productive activism – because there are thousands targeted by hate violence each year who need our help”

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson
“Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel
“All across Chicago, in every neighborhood, there are signs in front yards and in windows that read, “Hate Has No Home Here.” It is a sign that expresses our shared values and defines our great city. . . . Our laws exist to reflect and defend those values, and hate crimes will never be tolerated. A single individual who put their perceived self-interest ahead of these shared principles will never trump Chicago’s collective spirit.”

20th Century Fox Television and Fox entertainment
“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”

Actor Terry Crews
“Wait.. what? He used a CHECK? Noooooooooooooo”

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris
“Like most of you, I’ve seen the reports about Jussie Smollett, and I’m sad, frustrated, and disappointed. When anyone makes false claims to police, it not only diverts resources away from serious investigations but it makes it more difficult for other victims of crime to come forward. At the same time, we must speak the truth: hate crimes are on the rise in America. Just last year, the FBI released statistics that revealed a 17 percent increase in the number of hate crimes in America. Part of the tragedy of this situation is that it distracts from that truth, and has been seized by some who would like to dismiss and downplay the very real problems that we must address. We should not allow that. I will always condemn racism and homophobia. We must always confront hate directly, and we must always seek justice. That is what I will keep fighting for.”

Northwestern University political science professor Alvin Tillery
“The Smollett case is likely to have an even larger impact on our politics and culture than those infamous hoaxes because of Mr. Smollett’s celebrity status and our deeply troubling political climate.”