News

Politics & Policy

Kamala Harris Ignores Questions on Smollett Hoax after Dining with Sharpton

Sen. Kamala Harris walks with Rev. Al Sharpton following their meeting at Sylviai’s Restaurant in New York City, February 21, 2019. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) on Thursday refused to comment on the hate-crime hoax apparently perpetrated by Empire actor Jussie Smollett, when asked about the case while leaving a Harlem, N.Y. restaurant with Al Sharpton, who famously publicized the fraudulent hate-crime claim made by Tawana Brawley in the late 1980s.

Harris, who previously called the allegedly faked hate crime a “modern day lynching,” has refused to retract her initial claim despite the Chicago Police Department’s Thursday morning assertion that Smollett paid two associates to stage the attack.

Asked earlier this week about the tweet in which she said Smollett was effectively lynched, Harris seemed unfamiliar with the message and said she could not comment on the case until all the details came to light.

Sharpton is a prominent civil-rights activist who has been embraced by many Democratic politicians over the past thirty years, and now expounds on political news as an MSNBC contributor. Among the many controversies he’s courted in his decades in the public spotlight, he famously advised Brawley, a black teenager who in 1987 claimed that she was gang raped by a group of white men in Dutchess County, N.Y. and then left in the woods covered in feces with racial slurs written on her body.

As an adviser to Brawley alongside her attorneys, Sharpton captured the attention of the national media for months, demanding justice for his client and all similarly abused African Americans until a special grand jury determined that Brawley had fabricated the entire incident. Steven Pagones, one of the accused perpetrators, then won a defamation suit against Brawley and Sharpton, who personally attacked him throughout the trial. Sharpton’s supporters paid the resulting $65,000 in damages.

Sharpton has since refused to apologize for his role in stirring racial resentment by publicizing the hoax.

“What do I have to apologize for? I believed her,” Sharpton told NPR in 2012.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.

LEARN MORE

Most Popular

U.S.

Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More
Books

The Plot against Kavanaugh

Justice on Trial, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino (Regnery,  256 pp., $28.99) The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the political event of 2018, though not for the reasons anyone expected. All High Court confirmations these days are fraught with emotion and tumult ... Read More
Politics & Policy

He Just Can’t Help Himself

By Saturday, the long-simmering fight between Nancy Pelosi and her allies on one side and the “squad” associated with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the other had risen to an angrier and more destructive level at the Netroots Nation conference. Representative Ayanna Pressley, an African-American Massachusetts ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More
Sports

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More
Education

Gender Dissenter Gets Fired

Allan M. Josephson is a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. In the fall of 2017 he appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation ... Read More