The bizarre tale of Empire star Jussie Smollett took another interesting turn on Thursday morning, when black commentators appeared on CNN with At This Hour host Kate Bolduan to discuss the charges of disorderly conduct filed by the Chicago police against Smollett.
Keith Boykin -- who said he has known Smollett for eight years -- said he was “devastated” by the accusations of staging a fake homophobic and racist attack and sending a threatening letter containing white powder to himself.
In addition, political commentator and weekend CNN anchor Van Jones described the situation as the “fall of an icon” since Smollett was “a Jackie Robinson against homophobia in the black community.”
Bolduan asked Boykin for his take, so he responded that he was “devastated by this” before adding:
I’m hoping still in spite of the overwhelming evidence presented that it is not true and he is still innocent until proven guilty. He had no reason to do something like this. A lot of people in my community are thinking this is not something we want and need. We want attention on the issues of black LGBTQ violence and hate crimes. We want it focused where it should be; we don’t need a distraction like this.
“Everything about this is hard to believe,” Boykin noted. “The story itself was hard to believe from the beginning, but then the reason why he would do it is hard to believe. He had a successful career....The whole idea of doing it for a salary dispute just didn’t make any sense.”
Bolduan then asked what impact this incident could have on new victims of racial crime.
“There’s a lot of argument that says this makes it harder for future cases, and I understand that,” he stated. “The sad thing is it took a celebrity for us to even focus attention on this.”
“There are cases that are happening every day,” Boykin continued. “I hope that people start focusing on those other cases and not just on this one.”
Jones spoke up next about “the fall of an icon at a time when we need icons, when we need heroes, when we need people to stand up.”
“The level of betrayal, if this is true, is so deep,” the commentator added, “it’s almost hard to get the words out because of how beloved he has been and how hurt we were when we thought he had been hurt.”
As he defended Smollett, Jones claimed that “we still don’t know everything, and I don’t want to see us rush to judgment” even though “what he did has hurt the cause against racism and the cause against homophobia if it’s true.”
“If there is any way that this can be redeemed,” the commentator added, “I hope it can be, but he owes those same young black gay men that he was addressing [during his interview on Good Morning America], he owes them not just an apology, but a lifetime of atonement.”
At that point, Boykin interjected that incidents like this “do happen” because “we live in difficult, extreme times.”
Unfortunately, we also live in a world where people in the mainstream media grab onto any story that fits the liberal narrative and run with it without making sure the information is accurate. Didn't these folks learn anything from the Covington kids?