What if Jussie Smollett’s Attackers Shouted “This is LGBT Country?”


“Jussie Smollett is what happens when the demand for racism and homophobia exceeds the supply,” writes the Benedictine College professor of philosophy Anthony Crifasi.

Crifasi’s quip goes right to the heart of the matter. But it is the reaction of those who wish the hoax had been true that most reveals his point. On this, I speak from experience.

In the present case, Smollett, an actor who is black and gay, claimed that he was assaulted in Chicago by two men who yelled racist and anti-gay slurs at him, struck him, poured an unknown substance on him, put a noose around his neck, and told him he was “in MAGA country,” a reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

The story was immediately suspicious to anyone not politically predisposed to believe it. It sounded too much like a liberal’s own bigoted view of those “deplorable” Trump voters—what they want to believe about us.

And, “MAGA country”? Who says that? Especially in Chicago, which is the very opposite of MAGA country.

Sure enough, now Smollett “is in custody and could face three years in jail after he was sensationally charged with staging an elaborate street assault so he could play victim.”

But note the reaction of liberals to this news. Rush Limbaugh on his radio program today is quoting several who say that if Smollett made it up, it is still somehow President Trump’s fault.

According to Real Clear Politics, for instance, “’Washington Post’ opinion writer and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart said Monday people ‘want to believe’ Jussie Smollett because it fit ‘a reality for a lot of people’ since President Trump took office. Capehart said the ‘atmosphere of hate’ around the country made Smollett’s story believable.”

This is what liberals tell themselves. It’s like a dispatch from Bizarro World, where everything is the opposite of reality.

For two years, liberals have told themselves that they are living in some sort of post-democratic dystopian America in which the U.S. Constitution has been shredded. But to that, conservatives who lived through the Obama era can only reply, “Now you know how we feel.” Indeed, it was why we voted for Trump in the first place.

The liberal demand to believe that this is happening in Trump’s America exceeds the supply of actual evidence. So they manufacture it. And when they get caught, they still blame Trump. Or conservatives.

And they do this even when the shoe is on the other foot. That is, when conservatives are the victims of realcrimes. Trust me. I know.

In 2011-12, a gay activist sent me hundreds of anonymous letters, some of them threatening my life. He was eventually caught and prosecuted for it.

The Hartford Courant kindly editorialized that it was wrong to threaten my life. But our state’s paper of record offered this curious caveat:

The Family Institute of Connecticut and Mr. Wolfgang have a host of critics who energetically oppose the organization’s activist anti-abortion, anti-gay agenda. The institute should expect criticism when it makes the choice to fight on the emotional battleground of values and when it would deny gay American citizens equal rights or woman legal medical procedures.

My wife, while appreciating that The Courant defended me, was none too happy about the caveat.

Now consider by contrast The Courant’s reaction to one Alexandra Pennell.

A student at Central Connecticut State University in 2012, Pennell was the perpetrator of one of a wave of hate crime hoaxes on college campuses in recent years.

At about the same time I was receiving real death threats from a gay activist, Pennell, according to police, was sending fake anti-gay notes to herself. There was no “Solidarity Rally” attended by hundreds on my behalf, but there was for Pennell.

Yet, as The College Fix later recounted, “Pennell told police she faked the notes to get her roommate to spend more time with her. She was expelled from the university and charged with eight felony counts of fabricating evidence and eight misdemeanor charges.”

But the kicker was The Courant’s editorial reaction, about a month prior to its editorial about me.

“Fraud Masks Sad Reality Of Gay Harassment” is how The Courant saw it:

Misguided attempts, for whatever reason, to manufacture evidence of anti-gay activities should not disguise the fact that such activities exist… acts of deception by one misguided student must not obscure the larger picture….Next time, the offensive messages might well be genuine.

Of course, as Jussie Smollett and the dozens of cases documented by the College Fix demonstrate, such episodes are often not genuine.

But you see how this works?

When a pro-family activist like me is the victim of a real hate crime, we get measured expressions of support that are tinged with caveats.

When gay activists, whether Smollett or Pennell, fake their victimhood, we get a high-minded lecture on how the crime might as well have been real and how America is still somehow guilty of it.

And they wonder why we voted for Trump.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org


About Author


Peter Wolfgang is president of Family Institute of Connecticut Action, a Hartford-based advocacy organization whose mission is to encourage and strengthen the family as the foundation of society. His work has appeared in The Hartford Courant, the Waterbury Republican-American, Crisis Magazine, Columbia Magazine, the National Catholic Register, The Stream, CatholicVote, and Ethika Politika. He lives in Waterbury, Conn., with his wife and their seven children. The views expressed here are his own.


  1. I expected and predicted that the bully media (and others) would begin to “rationalize” Mr. Smollett’s hoax and even “defend” it to perpetuate the myth of “dangerous” white supremacy (under President Trump). There is nearly a fever pitched necessity to gin up rage against perceived “enemies.” This occurred most recently with the Covington students.
    Unless there is an authentic face-to-face with truth, this nation is doomed. Not all persons of color or those in poverty are “victim saints.” Not all white fiscal, social, and religious conservatives or those who are wealthy are devils in disguise.

  2. Hi, great article. But please resist the urge to break everything down so dualistically. I too was immediately suspicious of Smollett and abhor the double standards you point out. However I am also pro access to legal abortion and don’t believe homosexuallity to be a lifestyle “choice” but a condition rooted in biology. I am a free thinker who cares not what political or religious group anyone hails from. Truth is truth, that’s all. I hope it’s OK that I agree with your views on some matters while declining your overall ideology. Have a great day!

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