A Letter to Jussie Smollett
As a gay, black survivor of a violent crime, I feel let down.
In the past three weeks, I’ve written a lot about Jussie Smollett’s alleged racist and homophobic attack (here, here, and here), and once the Empire actor’s story began to unravel, I wondered if I should weigh in yet again.
When my editor at Variety emailed me at the beginning of last week and suggested that I write an open letter to Smollett, I was hesitant. Like many, I was a little too quick to buy his account of what went down in the early morning hours of January 29, and I didn’t want to make the same knee-jerk mistake again.
I decided to wait and see how it would play out over the next few days. By Thursday (in the U.K., where I am right now), Smollett was under arrest and the Chicago Police Department appeared to have an airtight case against him. It was time to write the letter.
My opening line — “I don’t want to jump to conclusions … again” — underscores the caution with which I’m now approaching the story. I don’t want to convict Smollett without a trial, but right now, it doesn’t look good, not for Smollett, and not for gay men, black men, Americans against President Donald Trump, and actual survivors of violent crimes. When racism and homophobia are involved, will anybody believe us now?
Time, as they say, will tell. For now, you can click here or below to see my letter to Jussie. Thanks, as always, for reading.