Jussie Smollett took to Twitter in early 2016 to blast people who chose to believe “obvious lies” in what appeared to be a reference to Donald Trump’s supporters.
In the wake of allegations that Smollett staged a fake attack that he blamed on Trump supporters, the tweet is not aging very well.
On Saturday, police in Chicago announced that they no longer considered the Empire actor a victim in the alleged attack that took place late at night at the end of January. Smollett had told police that a pair of men attacked him late at night, shouting “This is MAGA country!” in reference to Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, before putting a noose around his neck and pouring a chemical on him. Smollett is a black and openly gay man, and the attack was seen as a potential hate crime.
But police now say that their investigation has shifted amid allegations that Smollett paid a pair of friends to carry out the attack. The potential motive is not known.
“We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement (via Fox News). “We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”
While Jussie Smollett issued a statement maintaining that he was indeed the victim of a hate crime and pushing back strongly against the most recent reports, many who had originally supported Smollett were criticizing him online. Many said that the allegation indicating that he faked the attack would only serve to hurt the gay and black communities by giving ammunition to critics.
I believed @JussieSmollett until I heard the whole “This is MAGA country” bs. C’mon. Who even says that?— Joy Villa (@Joy_Villa) February 17, 2019
And Chicago is “MAGA country”? Once you start claiming this nonsense is somehow Trumps fault I tune out. Now we see the truth...he faked it! #overplayed
If #JussieSmollett orchestrated this scam and claimed he was attacked because he’s black and gay, the real tragedy will be all of the victims of REAL hate crimes whose stories won’t be believed. pic.twitter.com/XIWwXazg5L— Victor Blackwell CNN (@VictorBlackwell) February 17, 2019
Some had already criticized those who initially defended Smollett, including 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris, who called the attack a “modern day lynching.” The California Senator has introduced a bill that would make lynching a federal crime, but critics now question her close relationship with Smollett, who had helped her campaign and even accused her of knowing that the attack was a fake.
Getting even more viral attention online was the tweet Smollett wrote in 2016 that blamed people who willingly believed an obvious lie. It was retweeted thousands of times after allegations that he may have staged the attack, and gained a number of mocking responses.
Who is more to blame? A Devil who spreads obvious lies or a fool who chooses to believe those lies and pass them along? ???? #Thoughts— Jussie Smollett (@JussieSmollett) March 22, 2016
Chicago Police have not officially said that Jussie Smollett is a suspect in the alleged attack.