In the wake of the Jussie Smollett scandal, Fox News contributors Rochelle Ritchie and Richard A. Fowler schooled the conservative network on why the actor’s alleged hoax drew initial sympathy rather than skepticism from the Black and LGBTQ communities.
Smollett, who stars on the hit TV show “Empire,” was charged with filing a false police report after Chicago authorities say he sent threatening letters to himself then staged a racist and homophobic attack because he was reportedly dissatisfied with his salary.
The actor, 36, was released from custody Thursday on a bond of $100,000.
Ritchie began by speaking on experiences of Black people in America, specifically pointing to cases of white people calling the cops on them for seemingly innocuous reasons.
“We have seen multiple times in which we have been victims,” she said. “When you have Black people having the police called on them for having a barbecue, for going to the pool with socks on, for studying in their dormitory, it’s not hard and it is not inconceivable to think that something could potentially happen.”
Ritchie went on to note current racial tensions in America, arguing the faked attack was “something that is very possible and is happening.”
Fowler also weighed in, adding that Black folks in Chicago specifically have had plenty of reason to mistrust Chicago PD. He brought up the case of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was fatally shot by a Chicago officer whom a jury later determined had lied about his justification for shooting the Black teen 16 times.
“People were very slow in the black and LGBTQ community to believe the Chicago Police Department at face, because after the Laquan McDonald cover up, people were like, ‘I know there’s a break of trust between communities of color and police,” Fowler said.
“So this has been a very, very hard couple of days for people in the LGBTQ community and for people of color because of who Jussie represents and what Jamal Lyon’s character on ‘Empire’ meant to the community,” he added.
Watch more in the video below.
On Fox, @RochelleRitchie and @Richardafowler explain that Jussie Smollett's assault claim was believable to black & LGBTQ people because we have been victims of seemingly ridiculous violence before, and the habitually abusive Chicago PD long ago lost the communities' trust. pic.twitter.com/BhrDiD3V6t
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) February 22, 2019