HOUSTON (FOX 26) - What are your thoughts on actor Jussie Smollett now being charged after police say he actually staged being the victim of a hate crime?
“He should be ashamed of himself,” says one man.
We posed that question to Houstonians who seem to have strong opinions about what Smollett is accused of doing. Most are absolutely incensed by someone who would make up being the victim of a hate crime.
“He should never have a career again and I don’t feel sorry for him,” says Eldid Sahar.
“I think it’s pretty sad. I felt sad for him when I thought it was true. Now, I feel sad for him in a different way,” adds another woman.
So many who are angered with Smollett feel duped by the actor. They absolutely believed his story that two men spewed homophobic and racist rants at him while beating, pouring bleach on him and securing a noose on his neck.
“I did believe it and I felt really sad for him,” says one woman.
But as it turns out, Chicago police say there was no hate crime. Investigators say Smollett paid two brothers to fake the attack.
“He’s very privileged, his career was going very well. He’s handsome and then what happens? The guy goes and uses this to thrive his career,” says Sahar.
Many people speaking out now that Smollett has been charged say his alleged phony story to further his career will not only hurt the very thing he was trying to boost. They say it will also make it more difficult for future victims to be believed.
“There’s injustices that happen every day, and you don’t need to make something up like that. It just takes away from the next real injustice. I think it’s a shame,” says one Houston man.
“I hope everyone across the country will still unite to support people who are LGBT or whatever their preferences are,” adds Nicholas Little.
Smollett faces up to three years in prison if found guilty of felony Disorderly Conduct. So, should he do time?
“I think he should. I mean he lied,” says one Houston woman.
”I think that may be a little bit aggressive. We have enough people in jail that probably don’t need to be, who aren’t a danger to society. I don’t see him as being a danger to society,” says Larry Shipley.
Most of the people we spoke with say, if found guilty, they believe probation and a fine would be sufficient. Many also say Smollett should be required to repay the Chicago Police Department for all of the wasted resources spent looking into a bogus claim, if the hate crime indeed was made up.