On Thursday night’s episode of “The Daily Show,” Noah offered a brilliant takeaway from the controversy surrounding the “Empire” star. After Chicago police put together a report of what they believe occurred during the allegedly staged attack, Noah pointed out, numerous groups have been upset about the revelation. Survivors of hate crimes worry it will discourage actual victims from coming forward, Trump supporters feel they’ve been maligned, and prominent Democrats, like Sen. Kamala Harris, have walked back their initial outrage.
“When this started out, it was a story about people who hated Jussie Smollett because he was black and gay. But now people hate him because he’s an asshole,” Noah said. “In other words, they’re judging him on the content of his character and not the color of his skin. And that, my friends, is progress.”
Smollett reported to police that he was the victim of a hate crime in Chicago on Jan 29. He told police that he was walking back to his apartment around 2 a.m. when two masked men began yelling racial and homophobic slurs at him. Smollett, who is black and gay, alleged that they beat him, tied a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him and yelled, “MAGA country” — a reference to President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America great again.”
His claims began to unravel when Chicago police detained two Nigerian brothers on suspicion of assaulting Smollett and discovered that one of them was the actor’s personal trainer. The brothers were released with no charges on Feb. 15.
Noah broke down some of the newer details about the case on Thursday night’s show — for example, that Smollett wrote his two “attackers” checks for their work.
“What, did he also write ‘fake hate crime’ in the memo? Even amateurs know if you commit a crime, you go all cash, people. No paper trail!” Noah said. “You’ve never seen a movie where the bad guys are like, ‘I need you to get rid of someone for me. Now who do I make this check out to?’”
To see the segment in full, check out the video above.