WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - While fans of actor Jussie Smollett react with disbelief and disappointment that the Empire star has been charged with orchestrating his attack, a local diversity and inclusion consultant says the incident is tainting perceptions of legitimate hate crimes.
“Many are more excited that they think this is a lie and less concerned about what this mean,” says Kimberly McLaughlin-Smith.
McLaughlin-Smith is a diversity specialist that consults on race issues across the country.
She says while she shares the shock and disappointment that Smollett allegedly made up his attack, she’s just as bothered by those who are using this as an opportunity to denounce the legitimacy of real hate crimes.
“To see such an incredibly gifted icon allegedly perpetrate such misguided judgement is painful for many, but not everyone,” says McLaughlin-Smith. “The odd phenomenon that particularly gives me pause is the rejoicing that some are doing to nullify all claims related to hate crimes. There are people trolling the internet asking for apologies for ‘MAGA’ supporters as if one case of misconduct and deception regarding hate crimes somehow speaks to every single case of this nature.”
The producers of the TV show Empire announced Friday that Smollett’s character will be taken out for the remainder of the season.