The only interesting question left with Smollett is whether he apologizes and, if so, to whom. And by “apologizes” I mean a real apology, not the usual celebrity horsesh*t to which we’re accustomed where he rambles about “my truth” and says he’s sorry to anyone whom he “might have offended.” Jones is right that Smollett should atone to victims of actual hate crimes, especially blacks and gays.
But a word of contrition towards the many millions of Trump fans he smeared by association in concocting a MAGA hate hoax is in order too. Will we get that in the eventual teary confessional career-rehab interview?
Eh, hopefully not. I think ritual apologies are pointless, if not counterproductive, when they’re insincere since they do more for the malefactor than for his victims. There’s zero chance that Smollett is genuinely sorry and 100 percent probability that he’s sorry he got caught. Go watch ABC’s interview with him from a few days ago if you haven’t yet, particularly the part at around 14 minutes in where he tears up. Either he’s a diagnosable sociopath or was so committed to covering his ass on this grand lie that he may have been prepared to see innocent people carted off to prison in the interests of protecting his narrative.
He’ll apologize, and he won’t mean a word of it. What is “if I say I’m sorry will you let me work again” worth?
I also think the hand-wringing about people not believing victims anymore after this is overwrought. Jesse Singal is correct:
People are galaxy braining the hell out of themselves, positing a strict binary where you Believe (good) or Don't Believe (bad) victims, rather than adopt the common-sense position of waiting to opine on ambiguous situations until more information comes out. pic.twitter.com/NFpdRERWUl
— Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) February 21, 2019
Anyone willing to treat all reports of hate crimes going forward as likely hoaxes was already inclined to do that before Smollett’s chicanery. If this incident changes anything, it might give pause to those predisposed to treat all reports of hate crimes as credible — not because they’re remorseful about smearing Trump fans in this case, of course, but because Smollett made them look like fools by inviting them to vouch for his credibility. Their egos, not any instinctive impulse towards fairness, will lead them to be more circumspect in the future.
One more point. I think Smollett unintentionally helped his chances at career rehabilitation by handling this so moronically, which will make the plot seem less sinister and more comically inept with hindsight. Lots of attention is being paid today to the fact that he paid his co-conspirators by check, a mind-boggling lapse of criminal judgment, but don’t forget that the alleged attack happened at 2 a.m. on a night in Chicago when the temperature was below zero. Is it possible that raging homophobes were so determined to assault him that they’d risk hypothermia and frostbite to do it, rather than wait until the weather warmed up? I … guess so? But it’s very improbable, which is no doubt what got Chicago PD looking at a hoax in the first place. That’s probably Smollett’s best PR play going forward: “I was emotional, I wasn’t thinking clearly, you can see it in how silly the plot was.” Then he’ll go to rehab for “exhaustion” or whatever. Three months from now, good as new.