Prosecutors in the Jussie Smollett case opted to offer the maligned Empire actor an alternative disposition sentence of community service and the forfeiture of his $10,000 bond in lieu of prosecuting Smollett on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct. Smollett stood accused of faking a hate crime against himself. Chicago police reportedly began investigating the event as an assault, but the two men who stood accused of the crime claimed Smollett hired them to beat him up. Chicago police then turned their attention to Smollett claiming that his motive for staging the attack was that he was unhappy with his salary on Empire.
Smollett, who is black and gay, earned the ire of just about everyone after evidence came pouring in that the hate crime was staged. Those who were victims of hate crimes denounced Smollett as drawing attention away from a legitimate issue and tinging it with a veneer of doubt. Indeed, the conversation concerning race-related assaults and homicides shifted toward how many of those were fake. Social media pundits seemed to latch onto the event as vindication that the entire dialogue concerning hate crimes is flawed.
Then, after the 16 felony counts against Smollett were dropped, the conversation shifted toward the price of justice in America and how those with money can buy their way out of trouble while those without are forced to stand trial for similar crimes. In other words, it was a departure from the narrative that the courts convict black defendants at a higher rate while giving a pass to white defendants for the same crime. The dichotomy shifted to rich versus poor.