The Jessie Smollett case has been a rollercoaster, leaving folks feeling angry, confused and sad in new ways—no small achievement in an era when the news has many of us practically numb to scandal. Smollett now faces 16 felony charges and up to 64 years in prison for faslely reporting a hate crime.
Here’s a sampling of Twitter reactions to the latest development in the case, as observers process a complicated and ever-evolving tale in which issues of race, ethics, homophobia, fame, money, media and the so-called justice system collide in a desperately bleak tangle:
So it takes a grand jury all of about 20 minutes to indict #JussieSmollett on 16 felony counts, but yet, in Sacramento, after a year long investigation, they couldn’t find legitimate cause to indict the officers who shot & killed unarmed Stephon Clark in his grandma’s backyard.— Francis Maxwell (@francismmaxwell) March 9, 2019
I’m not defending what Jussie Smollett did; it was ridiculous & wrong. But didn’t he live an “otherwise blameless life?”— Neale (@AbeFroman) March 10, 2019
Too bad he didn’t conspire against his country, illegally wire tens of millions to hostile nations, & steal an election. He’d only be looking @ 47 months. https://t.co/fEsJ4H03Ig
If you’re unable to see how Jussie Smollett being indicted with 16 felony charges from one police report and maybe two interactions with Chicago Police is excessive and personal, that the police and jury response is what’s harmful to our community, your homophobia is a blindness.— Dana (@DanaVivianWhite) March 8, 2019
I can see how it’s problematic but it’s hard for me to feel bad as someone who’s both black and gay when Jussie definitely made things harder for us. He didn’t care about the community when he threw us under the bus. He made it harder for gay black victims to be believed.— Beyoncè ⚔️ (@blkparishiltonn) March 9, 2019
Nothing about Jussie Smollett being indicted on 16 FELONY counts shocks me. It is the essence of our legal system. To over punish Black people. Meanwhile Emmett Till’s accuser has lived her white supremacist life free from punishment and Stephon Clark’s killers aren’t charged. pic.twitter.com/s7D6Tz16Io— Preston Mitchum (@PrestonMitchum) March 8, 2019