Could Jussie Smollett’s Actions Hurt The Credibility Of Future Hate Crime Victims?

In December 2021, Jussie Smollett was convicted on five counts of felony disorderly conduct after Chicago police accused him of faking a hate crime against himself in 2019. At his sentencing hearing on March 10, 2022, the actor, who is Black and gay, professed his innocence, stating, “If I did this, then it means that I stuck my fist in the fears of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBTQ community.” Continuing, Smollett addressed the judge, saying, “Your Honor, I respect you, and I respect the jury, but I did not do this, and I am not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself.” Legal analyst and professor Laura Rene McNeal says, “What we’re seeing play out are courtroom theatrics. We’re seeing a very accomplished actor playing a role. In this case, he’s playing the role of being innocent.” Tracy Siska, Founder and Executive Director of The Chicago Justice Project, says he’s concerned that Smollett’s actions could hurt the credibility of future victims of actual hate crimes with Chicago police. “There’s no doubt that this is just going to increase the problems with them believing Black people when they make accusations – when gay people make accusations about what happens – this just feeds into all the stereotypes," he says. Jussie Smollett was released on a personal recognizance bond of $150,000 by the Illinois Appellate Court after serving just six days of a 150-day jail sentence. On Monday’s episode, “The Sentencing Of Jussie Smollett: Justified?” Dr. Phil talks to a panel of attorneys and civil rights experts about the actor’s conviction and sentencing, his upcoming appeal, and the potentially far-reaching implications of the case. And later, can Jussie Smollett make a comeback? The panel weighs in. Plus, Scott Rouse, Chase Hughes, Greg Hartley, and Mark Bowden, also known as The Behavior Panel, weigh in on Smollett’s body language in court. Then, in the second half of Monday’s episode, “The Oscar Slap: The Aftermath Of Explosive Anger,” Dr. Phil and his guests explore what happened the night actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock during the Academy Awards broadcast. Check your local listing for air times. WATCH: Legal Analyst Says Sentence In Jussie Smollett Case Was Too Light TELL DR. PHIL YOUR STORY: Are you involved in a story making headlines?