Jussie Smollett Hurts

Jussie Smollett on ABC's 'Good Morning, America.'
Jussie Smollett on ABC’s ‘Good Morning, America.’

It’s looking more and more convincing that “Empire” star Jussie Smollett faked his own attack and blamed it on MAGA thugs.

A grand jury indicted him Wednesday night, charging him with a felony count of disorderly account for reporting the alleged assault in January.

He reportedly hired two brothers who were “Empire” extras to stage the attack.

When Smollett first announced he’d been assaulted, I tweeted something about hoping the perpetrators would be brought to justice.

And yet even as I did so, there was something buzzing in the back of my head …

…. it was all too perfect.

A late-night run to Subway.

Being approached by two masked men who not only recognized him but had bleach and a noose ready.

“This is MAGA country,” they allegedly shouted as they beat him.

Chicago? MAGA country?

I felt horrible for doubting him, and yet I did. His recent appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning, America” did nothing to quell my concerns. He wasn’t convincing.

And as the weeks have gone by, and Chicago police have dismantled his story, I find myself reliving my own assault.

In 1998, on a beautiful summer night, just a half-block from the old Boston Herald on Harrison Avenue, I was jumped.

A stranger darted between two parked cars and tried to wrestle me to the ground. He called me faggot, repeatedly, and swore how much he wanted to kill me.

It’s funny, when you’re in one of these situations, time crawls to a standstill.

I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.

One second I was walking home from work, thinking about what I could possibly fix for dinner, the next I was facing some angry nutjob.

He spat at me. He called me a bunch of homophobic slurs. He talked about me and my faggot hair, which, I have no idea what he was going on about.

He tried to grab me again and bring me to the ground.

I got away from him. I was shaken up more than anything.

I told my boss about it. I’m not sure if I told anyone else at work about what happened to me. I can’t remember.

I felt … ashamed. I kept thinking I should have tried to beat the guy up. I should’ve defended myself better!

The Boston police department detective who took my report told me I did the right thing in getting away, that there was no way of knowing if he had a weapon or if he had accomplices standing by waiting to join in.

I hadn’t thought about that.

It turned out to be a rough summer.

I had a lot of nightmares. Whenever I was on a subway train and the doors would close, I would get panicky.

But summer gave way to fall, and the feelings passed.

Smollett’s actions have injured the community he purportedly loves.

The backlash is strong, with Fox and other conservative outlets proclaiming they are the true victims of identity politics. A newspaper that carried the initial report of the assault as little more than a news note runs pages of coverage of the story’s unraveling with columnists proclaiming how Trump supporters are the real victims.

And it will be harder for other gaybashing survivors. They will be less likely to go to the police. They know they will face a higher level of scrutiny, of mistrust.

Was all the attention worth it? That’s what I’d ask Jussie.

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