When news broke that Empire actor Jussie Smollett had survived what appeared to be a racist, homophobic hate crime, the internet erupted in messages of support.
Quickly, however, evidence mounted against the actor. Now, Chicago police have confirmed that Smollett paid his attackers thousands of dollars to carry out the crime. The actor now faces charges for filing a false report.
But no degree of justice will address the irreparable harm Smollett has necessarily inflicted. His false report will discredit serious reports from other queer people, especially queer people of colour, whose claims of abuse are already the subject of undue, intense public scrutiny.
TL;DR According to Variety and the Chicago police, Jussie Smollett staged a racist, homophobic hate crime because he was "dissatisfied with his salary." It appears he wanted to use the attack as leverage in salary negotiations and advance his career.
Smollett's motivation for the staged attack is even more disheartening. According to Variety and the Chicago police, the actor organized the incident because he was "dissatisfied with his salary." The police offered few other details.
It appears that Smollett wanted to use the attack as leverage in salary negotiations and further his career, though how is unclear.
Police noted that Smollett had also tarnished the reputation of the city of Chicago in his disturbing, greedy pursuit.
More details are sure to be released in the coming days and weeks. The actor's trial is sure to be the subject of media attention and public fascination.
Just today, president Trump tweeted out his own opinion of the incident.