FAKE NEWS | Jussie Smollett to Receive Emmy for Staged Hate Crime Acting
LOS ANGELES – American actor and singer Jussie Smollett will be awarded an honorary Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor at the Primetime Emmy Awards next September.
Maury McIntyre, President of the Television Academy, which presents the awards, said that this was in recognition of Smollett’s various roles in films, but most of all for his dramatic performance when pretending to be the victim of a hate crime.
“Jussie Smollett is, of course, known for his role in the drama series Empire,” McIntyre said, “but what makes him legendary is his role in the hate crime he staged against himself.”
In January 2019, Smollett, who is black and gay, claimed that, when hunting for a Subway sandwich in Chicago at about 2 am, he was assaulted by two Trump supporters who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, punched and kicked him, poured bleach on him, and threw a noose around his neck. The Chicago police investigated the incident, but, after apprehending the two alleged assailants, arrested Smollett in February 2019 and charged him with filing a false police report. At trial, the two alleged assailants, Nigerian brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, testified that they were acquaintances of Smollett and that he paid them $3,500 to fake-assault him. This week, the jury found Smollett guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct, finding that he orchestrated the whole “hate crime” against himself and repeatedly lied to police about it.
In explaining why the Television Academy had decided to bestow the honorary Emmy on Smollett, McIntyre referenced an interview he gave detailing the “hate crime” on the ABC program Good Morning America with journalist Robin Roberts, marveling at Smollett’s “barefaced insincerity.”
“It was a tour de force,” McIntyre said. “A lesser actor might have balked at this challenge, might have felt some sense of guilt at lying to the interviewer – and to the entire country – and allowed this to affect their performance. Not Jussie: he looked her straight in the eye and passionately, convincingly, lied to her face. It’s amazing how he maintains that sense of injured, self-righteous victimhood when talking about the ‘attack’ against him, even though he knows he’s making the whole thing up and getting the police to waste time and resources investigating it. And when he says he wants ‘little gay boys who might be watching’ to know that he fought back against his attackers, and basically portrays himself as an example to them-” McIntyre shook his head in disbelief. “Only a truly great, truly psychopathic, actor would be able to pull that off. This is someone at the pinnacle of his craft; no one deserves this award as much as Jussie.”
The Emmy-winning performance
Previous recipients of the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor also heaped praise on Smollett’s performance.
“This kid is so talented,” said Don Cheadle, who received an Emmy for his portrayal of hero James Rhodes in Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. “His interview that day was a masterclass in acting, and I believe it will be studied in acting schools for years to come. It was perfect: how he wiped the tears away as he told his story, how he paused to dab at his eyes with a tissue, how he projected this sense of stoic vulnerability. Every actor – and every criminal and con artist – in the world should be taking lessons from him. I am in awe.”
Michael J. Fox, who received an Emmy for his portrayal of lawyer Louis Canning in The Good Wife, praised Smollett’s commitment to his role.
“Jussie is an amazing method actor – he truly lives and breathes the role he’s playing,” Fox said. “Not only did he insist on his ridiculous story on camera – he insisted on it off camera too – to police, to the judge, to the jury, to anyone who would listen.
“The way he doubled, tripled, and quadrupled-down on his story, even when it started to fall apart, even when people began to wonder why he was so reluctant to give the police access to his phone, even when the guys he paid to ‘attack’ him flipped on him, is an inspiration to us all,” said Fox. “Bravo, sir. Bravo.”
Other Hollywood heavyweights have also weighed in. Producer and director Martin Scorsese called Smollett “a supreme dramatic ironist.”
“Oh, there’s so much to like. The part in the [Good Morning America] interview when he denounces the ‘fear mongrels, these people who are trying to separate us,’ when that’s exactly what he is. The part when he rails about people not believing accounts of hate crimes whilst making it even more difficult for people to believe future accounts with his hoax. And when he talks about how much he respects the victims of such attacks and what a disservice those who ‘lie about things like this’ do. Oh, and that part at the end where he talks about how he hopes his ‘attackers’ will be found and caught, even though that’s the last thing he’d want,” Scorsese laughed incredulously. “Genius.”
The only one who doesn’t think the award is well-deserved seems to be the Black Lives Matter movement, which maintains that Smollett was not acting, but telling the truth.
“In our commitment to abolition, we will always believe Jussie Smollett – a black man – over the police, the jury, and two other black men,” said Dr Melina Abdullah, director of Black Lives Matter Grassroots, and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. “But Jussie should accept the award anyway, as reparations for all the times in the past when Black people were denied Emmys.”