With all the mounting evidence indicating that "Empire" star Jussie Smollett staged a "hate crime" hoax allegedly to negotiate a better salary, some of the actor's defenders have now moved into the realm of the perfect conspiracy: Law enforcement has framed Jussie Smollett.
Over at MSNBC, Zach Stafford, Editor-in-Chief for the LGBTQ magazine The Advocate, went so far as to accuse Trump-loving cops in the Chicago P.D. of rigging the investigation in order to deal maximum damage to the disgraced actor.
According to Stafford, the Chicago P.D. intentionally leaked information pertaining to the investigation in order to destroy Smollett, alleging that the police called "it a racist and homophobic attack" even though it initially understood Smollett to be lying. Stafford claims this was all just a part of a broader setup.
"Personally, it was incredibly shocking on day one to see the police department call it a racist and homophobic attack. Their first statement — they exclusively said that, said they’re investigating it as a victim case," Stafford said, according to Fox News. "As someone that has been investigating these for years in Chicago, that was really unprecedented before."
Stafford went on to say that the Chicago P.D. essentially played into the victim narrative against Smollett in order to spring a trap on him.
"And a lot of the time people in the background were worried they were leaning into this victim part of the story because they didn’t believe him and they wanted to use it against him at the end when they were able to prove that he was lying," Stafford continued.
The LGBTQ magazine editor went on to throw dirt at the Chicago P.D.'s past record of leaking information, saying they have a history of lying to the population.
"The police were openly confirming and not confirming certain reports and not doing it to other parts of the story, and so, due to the vocal nature in this case, it was really peculiar," Stafford said. "Chicago has a deep history of openly lying to citizens. This police department did in 2016, openly through their union, support Donald Trump."
Stafford suggests that the police union's support of Trump indicates that there is reason not to believe them — especially in light of the information leaks.
"The central question of this case was, 'Are Donald Trump supporters out here committing hate crimes?' And that’s what really sparked a lot of the tension," Stafford said. "To have a police department that hasn’t been as cooperative as they have been this round, do not openly give information, do openly lie and mishold information in cases and then to know that they…have openly supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election, a lot of activists on the ground are saying, 'Wait, what’s going on here? Who do we believe out of these two suspect people.'"
In the end, Stafford suggested that even if Smollett were guilty of staging a hoax "hate crime," he still highlighted a greater truth. "Jussie may have created this whole situation to highlight a reality that is happening every day," he said. "Our current administration doesn’t support people like him — that are black and queer."