From our good friend and colleague, Richard Levick:
We still don’t know all the facts surrounding Jussie Smollett – so let’s not rush to condemnation with the same fury his supporters rushed to judgment about his “attackers.” As troubled as he may be, he is entitled to due process.
The latest evidence presented by the Chicago police, however, points to disturbing pathological behavior. People who weave complex webs of deceit believe their own reality, sufficient to pass a lie detector test. If true, Smollett’s behavior is tragic and, as I articulated to Variety, may be unrecoverable.
Richard Nixon’s career was anything but an afterthought. Nixon’s compulsive lying, anger, and anxiety were known to his close staff, but one could argue that from his perspective, holding onto power by any means necessary had a higher calling, even if it was unconstitutional. Nixon also clung to a legal argument, though flawed, that the president couldn’t violate the law. While you and I don’t accept those arguments, they have at least a thread of authenticity.
What does Smollett have? A desire to get paid more and, perhaps, to not be written out of a series? There is no higher calling here – just an actor trying to get another close up, Mr. DeMille. And the great irony is how talented Smollett is. He very quickly would have gotten other work – and likely even better parts.