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Culture

Jussie Smollett Jokes Declared Off-Limits

Actor Jussie Smollett appears in a booking photo provided by the Chicago Police Department in Chicago, Ill., February 21, 2019. (Chicago Police Department via Reuters)

The Jussie Smollett story has been declared not fit for jokes. “It’s a straight-up tragedy,” declares the co-creator of a Comedy Central show, South Side, set in Chicago.

Bashir Salahuddin, a former Jimmy Fallon writer, says “The whole situation is unfortunate. Particularly for the city, there’s bigger problems for them to handle.”

Yes, well, there are bigger problems than fake crimes, which is why causing hundreds of hours of police work to be wasted on a fictitious attack staged for the purposes of ego gratification and publicity ought to be punished both criminally and socially. Instead, Smollett was let off scot free by the justice system and largely let off by the usual cultural leaders. Saturday Night Live did a sketch on him months ago, but things have been notably quiet on the mockery front. Smollett is in a sense being treated as a victim who deserves some space to recover rather than the perpetrator of the most notorious fake hate crime of this century.

Salahuddin vows not to touch the subject of Smollett in any episode of South Side: “There’s nothing funny about it. It’s embarrassing,” he told the showbiz site The Wrap.

A civil suit against Smollett in which the city of Chicago is attempting to recover costs incurred in investigating the case is still pending.