ADL Condemns Alleged Homophobic, Racist Assault on Actor Jussie Smollett; Calls for a Hate Crimes Investigation

UPDATE 2.21.2019: Police now allege that Mr. Smollett fabricated the crime. He has been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt penned this op-ed for CNN, arguing that in spite of this one high-profile incident, we must not forget hate crimes are in fact increasing and cause tremendous damage to marginalized communities targeted. He also details recommendations for preventing hate crimes.

New York, NY, January 29, 2019 … ADL today forcefully condemned the alleged homophobic and racist assault on actor Jussie Smollett in Chicago.

“This reported attack on Jussie is a disturbing reminder of the terrible homophobia and racism that plagues our society,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “We call on police to investigate this vile incident as a hate crime and work swiftly to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice.”

According to the FBI’s 2017 Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) report, 1,338 victims were targeted for their sexual-orientation and 2,458 victims were targeted for being African American.

“We stand with Jussie and our partners in the LGBTQ and African-American communities in fighting against this kind of hateful violence, which has no place in our society,” Greenblatt said. “For decades, ADL has been the national leader in crafting and advocating for inclusive state and federal hate crime laws, including protections for the LGBTQ community, and we continue to be committed to this every day.”

ADL led the broad coalition of civil rights, religious, law enforcement, education, and professional organizations that worked for 13 years to secure enactment of the landmark Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) in October 2009.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.