Jussie Smollet maintained his innocence when speaking to a TMZ reporter at the Los Angeles airport on Wednesday. The former ‘Empire’ actor is facing six new criminal charges surrounding his purported Chicago hate hoax, in which he is said to have paid two Nigerian brothers to play the role of racist Trump supporters and stage a fake attack on him.
Smollett’s accomplices have turned on him, admitting their role in the hoax and that Smollett paid them to help him pose as a victim. But the actor is still maintaining his innocence, as seen in his conversation with a TMZ reporter.
The actor spoke with confidence when asked about his legal strategy.
“I don’t claim to be innocent, I am innocent.”
Smollett’s claims are disputed by the Osundairo brothers, who have been subjected to lengthy police interview surrounding their role in the hate crime hoax. They’ve admitted they were paid by Smollett in the elaborate scheme.
Smollett appeared set to coast free of any potential legal consequences from the hoax in March of 2019, when charges of lying to police were dropped by a Chicago prosecutor with little to no expanation. Local police unions seethed when it was revealed Chicago District Attorney Kim Foxx was closely connected to some of Smollett’s political contacts.
However, Smollett was charged with new accounts of lying to police earlier this month by Special Counsel Dan Webb, who was appointed by Judge Michael Toomin to review the matter.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but it’s fight or die at this point,” Smollett stated, making it appear unlikely that he’d come forward and admit to organizing the hoax.
“The truth is the best defense. The truth, which they know nothing about.”
Fighting words. The case against Smollett is objectively strong, corroborated by numerous witnesses, surveillance camera footage of the actor’s accomplices purchasing materials used in the hoax, and premeditated plotting preceding the event.
It appears likely that Smollett will argue the Osundairo brothers executed the attack purely on their own initiative, going out of their way to make a dishonest attack on a liberal actor that left him a picturesque hate crime victim.
Smollett’s next court date is on March 18th. Perhaps he’d be better off reconsidering his legal strategy before then.
Virginia School District Stops Celebrating Dr. Seuss on Read Across America Day Because of the “Racial Undertones” in His Books
It’s all so tiresome.
The Loudoun County School District in northern Virginia has stopped celebrating Dr. Seuss during Read Across America Day because of the “strong racial undertones” in some of his books.
“Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss. Examples include anti-Japanese American political cartoons and cartoons depicting African Americans for sale captioned with offensive language,” the district wrote in a statement.
“Given this research, and LCPS’ focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction, LCPS provided this guidance to schools during the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day exclusively with Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Dr. Seuss and his books are no longer the emphasis of ‘Read Across America Day’ in Loudoun County Public Schools,” the statement added.
To be clear, this does not mean that Loudoun County School District is outright banning Dr. Seuss’ books. They are still available for children to read in their libraries and classrooms.
Read Across America Day is celebrated every year on March 2, the day of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and many schools across the country celebrate National Reading Month every March.
The National Education Association, which created National Reading Month and Read Across America Day, started to distance themselves from explicit promotion of Dr. Seuss in 2017 and now promotes non-white authors who write books about “racial justice,” “inclusivity,” and so on.
Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, worked as a political cartoonist in addition to illustrating and writing children’s books. Interestingly enough, Geisel was a passionate supporter of FDR and a lifelong liberal Democrat.
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