Sherry Sah Staff Writer
It seems that everyone wants to be famous, whether it is for a good or bad reason. Popular culture often glorifies celebrities’ publicity stunts because it is entertaining and something to talk about. Celebrities want to keep themselves relevant by being in the latest topic or gossip, but how far do they go?
A prime example is American actor and singer Jussie Smollett, who staged an attack on himself in Chicago on Jan. 29, 2019. Smollett is an openly gay actor for the popular television show “Empire.” Sources believe that he staged an attack because he thought that he was not being paid enough. According to Fox News, Smollett told the Chicago police that he walked to a Subway fast-food restaurant in the middle of the night when two males “slipped a noose around his neck while yelling racial and homophobic slurs.”
Jussie Smollett had everyone talking and discussing the seemingly outrageous incident. He even got the attention of The Shade Room, LGBTQ and Black Civil Rights activists, and other celebrities who spoke out against the attack. However, after a thorough investigation, the Chicago Police Department found overwhelming evidence that Smollett staged the whole attack. He paid two Nigerian American males $3,500 to fake the assault; the police found receipts and many messages planning the act. Due to this, Smollett will be charged as a felon and might face 10 to 20 years in prison for filing a false police report. Many people are outraged, and the incident caused a lot of negative backlash, resulting in Smollett being fired from his role in “Empire.”
The stunt came to President Donald Trump’s attention and he tweeted, “What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?” What Smollett did was a slap in the face to the LGBTQ and African American communities. People report hate crimes every day and there are still many unsolved cases. Smollett’s actions are unacceptable because there are people that go through this every day and they aren’t taken seriously. It is ridiculous that he would go as far as lying about such a sensitive issue just for media attention.