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4 Lessons from the Jussie Smollett saga

Former 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett speaks during his sentencing hearing after he was sentenced to 30 months of probation, ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and spend 150 days in jail for lying to police that he was the victim of a hate crime. The hearing was held in Chicago, Illinois, on March 10, 2022.
Former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett speaks during his sentencing hearing after he was sentenced to 30 months of probation, ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and spend 150 days in jail for lying to police that he was the victim of a hate crime. The hearing was held in Chicago, Illinois, on March 10, 2022. | Screengrab: LiveNOW from FOX

Former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has finally been sentenced. The three-year Smollett saga has truly been a wild one with jokes by Dave Chappelle(warning: contains profanity) and Charles Barkley, an emotional interview,laughable legal motions, and claims about suicidality. I have followed this whole drama from day one and I have compiled four lessons that we as individuals and society at large can and should take away from this. 

1.  All people lie. One thing that has truly shocked me ever since the height of the #MeToo era began was the number of people who don’t understand the concept of lying. So many people ridiculously asked and continue to ask questions like “Why would a person lie?” “Why would someone claim to be a victim?” “Why would someone lie about something so serious?”

A fact of life is: human beings lie. This is something that Psalm 116:11 and Romans 3:4 tell us. But even if you aren’t “religious,” we can all relate to lying at a very young age. It is a natural defense mechanism that we learn and use as we live our lives.

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Humans also have plenty of reasons to lie:  maybe it is to harm an enemy; to take revenge; to gain fame or money; maybe just fear, or other reasons.

Our judicial system is predicated on the fact that people lie and there must be thorough and accurate investigations to find out the truth so that way justice can take place.

The mentality of just believing a person who makes a claim is really stupid and more importantly, it hurts our civilization. What we should do is investigate the claims and not pick sides. A person’s race, gender, age, sexuality, income, job, or any other aspect are irrelevant. All people lie and we need to protect ourselves against that.

2. False claims need to be harshly punished.  To be clear, I do believe that Smollett can and should be forgiven. This is something that Christ teaches in the last half of Matthew 18. People who have done far worse have been forgiven and received second chances. I don’t know if Smollett is saved, but if he isn’t, I hope that he builds a relationship with Jesus Christ.

With that said, according to the Daily Mail in 2019, Smollett was once facing nearly 50 years in prison! While I believe that 50 years is really steep for what he did, the punishment that was handed down was not nearly severe enough. Not only was he acting defiant and displaying narcissistic behavior throughout the entire process, he was late to his own sentencing.

While watching the proceedings, I was hoping that he would be made an example of and receive between 5 and 10 years in federal prison. Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? That’s the goal. 

There are so many people out there like Paul Nungesser, Saifullah Khan, Brett Kavanaugh, and others who have their lives and reputations ruined by false allegations. Yet liars like Adwoa Lewis,Breonna Talbot, Virginia Burns, or Julie Swetnick who make false allegations sometimes aren’t punished at all, or at most, they receive a slap on the wrist.

Those who lie about being victims need to be severely punished. As a society, if we truly care about real victims, we need to severely punish those who waste resources such as tax dollars, investigative resources, and time. One thing that Judge James Linn scolded Smollett on was that the City of Chicago has a crime problem and real crimes were put on the backburner for his “shenanigans”.

The harsh and swift punishment of notable prison time will dissuade wannabe victims and allow for real victims to be helped.

3. The mainstream media wants to divide Americans.  I remember the day that this story broke. I had just woken up in my dorm and my roommate/friend asked me who Jussie Smollett was. I explained who he was and he told me to check social media. I saw tons of hashtags and tweets about him. I also followed the story from the major networks that day.

A great deal of the posts was about how racist, oppressive, and evil America is. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and conservatives were blamed for the hate-filled rhetoric and atmosphere that was going on in the country.

The vast majority of mainstream media ate up his story when it broke. The story of a gay, black man being assaulted by white, racist, and homophobic Trump supporters was a perfect way of pouncing and proving their narrative.

Ever since Donald Trump came down that escalator on June 16, 2015, the mainstream media did everything they could to portray him as an old, racist, sexist, xenophobic, man who wanted to get rid of anyone who did not look like him. They desperately wanted it to be true so that way they could boost their ratings and portray the Right as bigotted zealots. The mainstream media loves pushing the idea that America is a very racist, homophobic, xenophobic, oppressive, and evil country.

In regards to Smollett, once the tide began to change and the truth was coming to the surface, they didn’t want to talk about it anymore. They completely ignored the story and tried to pretend they didn’t believe it or didn’t know what happened.

4. America is not a xenophobic nation.  America is a phenomenal country and the narrative that America is a place that is only for straight, white people is just not true. Smollett wanted to push that narrative that certain types of people don’t belong in this country and are greatly mistreated and discriminated against. But here is some data to put that nonsense through the shredder.

The United States of America is the top destination for immigrants.

The rate of interracial marriage has been seeing a consistent upward trend. In 1967, 1 in 33 newlywed couples was interracial. In 2015, that number became 1 in 6. According to Gallup, in 1958, only 4% of Americans approved of interracial marriage. That number as of last year is 94%. In 1980, only 5% of babies were multiethnic, but that number nearly tripled to 14% in 2015.

When it comes to the acceptance and approval of homosexual relationships, that number jumped almost 30 points in 2 decades. In 2000, the approval was at 40% and in 2021 that number was 70%.

In conclusion, I don’t know if Smollett will ever be honest. I don’t know if he will ever explain why he orchestrated this hoax. But ultimately what happens concerning him doesn’t matter.

What does matter is how we as a society learn from this saga.  When we take these lessons, learn from them, and apply them to life, we build a greater America.

Solomon Green is a writer and podcaster. His writings can be found on Thinkspot, Merion West, the Christian Post, and Medium. He hosts the podcast "One More Thing With Solo Green", which can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other sites where podcasts are available. His work mostly focuses on Culture and Politics. To send in your questions, comments, podcast topic suggestions, or business inquiries, you can best reach him at:

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