Should Jussie Smollett Apologize for His Actions and Face the Felony Charge Head On?

The controversy over Jussie Smollett possibly staging the homophobic hate crime against him is one of the saddest and most awkward entertainment stories so far this year. Thinking he would do this to gain attention or keep his role on Fox’s Empire is almost incomprehensible. Now, Smollett is facing a felony charge for allegedly filing a false police report.

Most painful of all are the retractions of support Smollett received from famous and non-famous after the attack occurred. While we’re still a forgiving culture, we’ve clearly drawn a line on some things.

Can we forgive an actor for staging his own attack? This is different territory, though it might start with an apology, and facing his felony charge head on.

Looking at all sides of the Smollett allegations

Let’s all remember no one is guilty until proven otherwise. Smollett’s case is still pending at the time of this writing, but news broke late Wednesday he has been charged with a felony for filing a false police report.

“Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury,” explained Chicago Police Spokesperson, Anthony Guglielmi, on Twitter.

Many people instantly believed Smollett when he reported his attack; there wasn’t any reason not to. At stake, though, is putting the pieces together on why he would possibly concoct such an elaborate hoax. It seems hard to fathom he’d do it just for political reasons.

The blurred lines of a fraud

It’s a bit eerie Smollett tweeted on his Twitter account recently about being extra aware of frauds. Is it possible his attack has complicated blurred lines of being both faux and real?

Reports are he initially received a threatening hate letter from someone at Fox Studios in Chicago. Because it didn’t receive enough attention, the rumor is he staged his own attack to bring more attention to the letter’s content.

If this is true, it complicates this case even further on whether it was a push for more serious consideration of increased hate crimes, or just a dumbfounded attempt at attention.

We already see considerable media attention on hate crimes, so forgiveness based on awareness seems up in the air.

Would the public accept a Smollett apology?

Should we find out Smollett truly did stage the entire attack, then he’ll have no choice but admit to it. Whether he’ll apologize is another thing.

He may think he did the right thing to bring a more serious look at the real hate crimes occurring. Then again, if he wants to keep working (assuming he doesn’t go to prison for a while), he may be forced into an apology.

Fox Network backed him up before the felony charge. They say he’s always been a pro on set of Empire, and they still pay him well per episode.

On the other side of the social media coin, you see many people with right-leaning politics blasting Smollett for being a hypocrite and doing this because he hated President Trump.

Most damning is the evidence of the two brothers Smollett supposedly hired to orchestrate the attack.

The possible outcome for Smollett

It’s very possible Smollett will do jail time if found guilty. We’ve seen more than our share of celebrities who’ve had to spend time behind bars for something and then came out as better people and even more popular.

Our culture forgave Robert Downey, Jr. after being in prison for a year due to drug addiction. Same goes with Martha Stewart, and older stars like Tim Allen. 

Staging a hate crime is a different situation, but one we’ll have to set a precedent for on forgiveness. Only time will tell.