Faking an Attack: How Playing the Victim Hurts Real Victims

Jayda Ragas | Herald Contributor


As despicable as it is to physically and verbally attack someone based on prejudice, it’s equally as despicable to stage a hate crime against yourself to make it seem like you were attacked.

It’s not certain yet, but Jussie Smollett is now the prime suspect in his own attack, which occurred on Jan. 29. CNN says that it’s possible that he hired two brothers, one of whom had worked on the set of “Empire” with Smollett, to stage the attack. The two men, who are also black, were originally the main suspects until they confessed to being paid by Smollett.

If it turns out that Smollett truly did fake the attack, I will be extremely disappointed. As someone who is both black and gay, he should understand the damage that he’s causing to actual victims of hate crimes. When people lie about serious things like this, it immediately directs doubt toward future victims who will speak up about a crime actually committed against them. It will make many people think twice about believing a victim and might automatically cause people to outright accuse the victim of lying for attention or other selfish reasons.

According to CNN, Smollett was unhappy with the salary he was making on “Empire” and that’s why he staged the attack. This is such an awful, harmful way to try to increase his salary. It costs money to send out investigators to catch the culprits for a crime. That money, if it’s proven that Smollett planned the whole thing, will have been entirely wasted. It’s a crime to file a false report, so if he’s convicted, he could spend one to three years in jail.

He potentially caused such an inconvenience to the police department and gave a bad name to any future victims of violence and hate crimes. I sincerely hope that Jussie Smollett didn’t actually stage his own attack, but unfortunately, it’s not looking like that will be the case.