Jussie Smollett told authorities he was attacked on January 29 by two men who were ‘yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.’ He went on to claim that one attacker had put a noose around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him. Since this was first reported, so-called ‘evidence’ has emerged to suggest that the attack was possibly staged, with Smollett knowing his ‘attackers’ before the event, and that he even went so far as to pay them.
Now, the drama surrounding this seems a complex one, but it’s really very simple. Even if he did stage the attack himself, it’s still valid.
Jussie Smollett is a busy man. He does not have time to wait around idly for genuine homophobic racists to jump him in the street. As an actor, it seems like an obvious solution to hire two men to carry out a racist and homophobic attack in order to draw attention to the kind of racist and homophobic attacks he would almost certainly be subjected to if he had a spare few hours to attract this unwanted attention.
As a genderqueer Muslim atheist, I am often frustrated that I receive very little abuse, despite knowing that it’s out there somewhere, waiting for me. As an activist, it is crucial that from time to time I become embroiled in an ugly fracas with someone who wishes to violently marginalize me. I am incredibly envious of the videos I see posted on social media and have lost count of the number of hours, perhaps days I have spent in various coffee houses and Gamestop outlets, willing a member of staff to refuse to use the pronouns I have given them, or to blatantly disrespect my transracial status. So far however, the closest I’ve come to a racist assault is my grandma referring to my Rasta hat as a ‘lovely tea cosy’ which unfortunately I did not film and when I described the incident in great detail to the police, they were simply not interested.
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Jussie Smollett’s current situation has inspired me to hire two people to publicly subject me to a harrowing experience, possibly involving some kind of scuffle and a certain amount of problematic brouhaha. From 2pm to 6pm on Saturday, I will be holding an open audition at my nearest Starbucks. I am looking for two individuals to fit the following descriptions:
Assailant One: You must be white, male, cisgender, aged around 16-18 – with a MAGA hat, Confederate flag and a tiki torch. A white robe with a matching pointy hood will be an advantage, but not essential. A convincing American accent (preferably Texan) is a deal-breaker here.
Assailant Two: White, male, cisgender, aged around 50, red-faced, preferably bald (think Brian Glover in American Werewolf in London) – a ‘BREXIT MEANS BREXIT’ tea towel draped across your shoulders with a ‘FUCK ISIS’ T-Shirt underneath it. A crate of Carling beer and a plate of Full English breakfast would be ideal ‘extras’. Accent should be Yorkshire, England to the point of being unintelligible (think Brian Glover in American Werewolf in London).
The Scenario: At a pre-arranged time and location, I will require you both to violently misgender me in the street while I film you on my iPhone, then Assailant One shall (while smirking) loudly point out that I most probably enjoy drinking soy milk (which to white supremacists is apparently an insult and not simply an accurate observation), as Assailant Two shouts incoherently about Muslims taking over while throwing the bacon from his Full English breakfast at me. Then we shall perform a choreographed scuffle during which I will alert the police and have you both arrested for several hate crimes.
Payment: I can pay you £50 ($65) each up front and another £25 when you eventually get out of prison.
I look forward to interviewing suitable applicants. GE.