Before the Chicago PD laid into Jussie Smollett and arrested him on a felony claim for allegedly filing a false police report, Ellen Page came forward as one of countless public figures who supported the Empire star. As she was promoting The Umbrella Academy, a “fired up” Page appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and blamed Mike Pence‘s policies for contributing to the normalization of homophobia that leads to hate crimes like the one that Smollett’s been accused by law enforcement of staging.
Following the unraveling of Smollett’s story over the past month, Page is now breaking her silence by penning a Hollywood Reporter column. It’s a lengthy piece in which she doesn’t dwell long on the investigation at hand but speaks to the damaging effects if Smollett’s attack was in fact faked. “[I]t could make victims even more reluctant to report these crimes,” Page writes. “Very real crimes.” She continues while imploring the public to never lose sight of the conversation about hate crimes:
While the media and public debate the case and await more information, we must not lose sight of the very real, endemic violence that LGBTQ+ people, people of color and other underrepresented communities face every day.
I ask you not to question our pain, not to draw into question our trauma, but to maintain, wholeheartedly, that hate violence exists. The merits of one case should not and cannot call that into question. The media coverage does not convey the reality and totality of the cruelty and danger we face. This is the story that must be told.
Page points toward grim statistics to support her argument:
Hatred toward otherized people is institutionalized here and across the globe and reinforced by political rhetoric. FBI data released in 2018 shows reported hate crimes in America rose 17 percent the year prior, the third consecutive year of escalation. In fact, the most recent study from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reported the deadliest year on record for the LGBTQ+ community. The statistics are plentiful and powerful and all point to a rising tide of hate violence.
The full column is well worth reading and can be found here. The Hollywood Reporter has also published an extensive profile of the now-suspended Empire actor that digs into his internal struggles, including depression, while exploring whether or not the pressures of fame contributed to his disintegrating situation. See the publication’s cover below.
Meanwhile, Smollett’s team maintains that they have evidence (including the $3,500 check that many consider to be a smoking gun) will actually disprove claims of a staged attack. His next Chicago court date will be on March 14.
(Via Hollywood Reporter)