After calling for "maximum penalty of the law" against Jussie Smollett's alleged attackers a few weeks ago, Al Sharpton is now calling for "maximum" "accountability" for Smollett if reports that he staged the attack prove true.
On MSNBC's "Politics Nation" Sunday, Sharpton said his call for "maximum" penalties still applies if it should turn out that the whole thing was a hoax. "I, among many others when hearing of the report, said that the reports were horrific and that we should come with all that we can come with in law enforcement to find out what happened and the guilty should suffer the maximum," he said, Page Six reported. "I still maintain that. And if it is that Smollett and these gentlemen did in some way perpetuate something that is not true, they ought to face accountability to the maximum."
In response, Donald Trump Jr., who's been chronicling the reactions of various high-profile figures on the Left to the Smollett case, noted the "irony" of Sharpton's past regarding hate hoaxes — but also gave him credit for being "ahead of the pack" on the situation, particularly compared to Democratic presidential candidates.
"Given the irony here of the past, it really says something that Sharpton is ahead of the pack of all the Democratic Presidential Hopefuls in condemning this terrible act of hate," Trump wrote. "Shocked that after jumping all over it when the narrative suited them now suddenly they wont [sic] comment."
Trump's "irony" comment is a reference to Sharpton's infamous role in the Tawana Brawley hoax. As The Daily Wire's Ashe Schow noted Tuesday, though Sharpton is now calling for maximum accountability for Smollett, he himself managed to get off pretty easy for his role in "one of the most famous rape and race hoaxes in modern American history." Schow provides some background (formatting adjusted):
In 1987, teenager Tawana Brawley claimed she was raped by a group of white men who wrote racial slurs on her body, smeared her with feces and wrapped her in a plastic bag. Sharpton jumped to her defense, and the case not only inflamed racial tensions in the U.S., but also launched his career as a prominent race-baiter. Brawley named several prominent men as her attackers — including a former assistant district attorney — and while they suffered greatly, she only started paying defamation damages six years ago after her employer was ordered to garnish her wages.
So how much did Sharpton end up paying? While he was ordered to $65,000 in defamation damages, after he failed to pay for years, his supporters ended up paying it back.
As for the responses of the "Democratic Presidential Hopefuls" to the Smollett case, here's how three of them handled the initial claim versus how they've responded to the latest developments:
"Jussie Smollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery. This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate," wrote Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) when the story fit the progressive narrative. Since the narrative has shifted, she now says she's "not going to comment until I know the outcome of the investigation."
"The vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching," declared Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) when the alleged attack was first reported. Now, he wants to wait until "all the information actually comes out from on-the-record sources."
"This is a sickening and outrageous attack, and horribly, it's the latest of too many hate crimes against LGBTQ people and people of color. We are all responsible for condemning this behavior and every person who enables or normalizes it," said Gillibrand initially. Now, she's also apparently withholding judgment.