Rev. Al Sharpton has called for “accountability to the maximum” in the Jussie Smollett case — even if it is determined that the alleged “hate crime” turns out to be a hoax staged by the “Empire” actor himself.
Sharpton initially responded to the alleged attack as many did — by condemning it in the strongest possible terms.
“For Jussie, who’s not only a superb actor and singer but an activist who has fought against homophobia and racism and sexism, to be a victim is something that is totally unacceptable,” he told TMZ. “I challenge the Chicago law enforcement to do all within their power to find out those that are guilty and they should face the maximum penalty of law.”
As news broke over the weekend that Chicago police appeared to be changing the direction of their investigation, Sharpton was quick to announce that his opinion had not changed.
During his MSNBC show “PoliticsNation” on Sunday, Sharpton explained, “I, among many others when hearing of the report, said that the reports were horrific and that we should come with all that we can come with in law enforcement to find out what happened and the guilty should suffer the maximum.”
Sharpton went on to say that if Smollett had orchestrated the attack as a hoax, he still felt the same way about the way that it should be handled.
“I still maintain that,” he said. “And if it is that Smollett and these gentlemen did in some way perpetuate something that is not true, they ought to face accountability to the maximum.”
“Activist and MSNBC commentator the Rev. Al Sharpton said on his program, “Politics Nation,” #JussieSmollett should be held accountable if he is behind the attack. “I among many others, when hearing of the reports, said that the reports were horrific…”- https://t.co/OYOsHDY0kQ
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) February 18, 2019
Sharpton was not the only one calling for Smollett to be held accountable if he was, in fact, involved in perpetuating a hoax. (RELATED: 18 Days Ago, Ellen Page Blamed Mike Pence For Alleged Jussie Smollett Attack)
Fox News host Laura Ingraham called for the possibility of civil or even criminal prosecution.
False, defamatory, poisonous, costly accusations by Blasé-Ford, Swetnick, Smollet must all be punished to fullest extent of civil and/or criminal law.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 17, 2019
Attorney Michael Avenatti also noted the damage a hoax hate crime could do to legitimate victims, saying that those who jumped the gun, in this case, should offer an apology.
If true, many of us, me included, owe apologies related to this bogus fiasco. This does serious damage to the cause of those who actually experience legitimate attacks. https://t.co/sFyXwHoigb
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) February 17, 2019