Faking your own hate crime? The strange case of Jussie Smollett

Now all charges have been dropped against the actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack, we examine the issues surrounding the case. Plus: Lucy Knight on being gay and a Christian

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Empire actor Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail after posting bond on February 21, 2019, in Chicago.
 Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

On 29 January, Chicago police announced they were investigating a suspected racist and homophobic attack on the TV star Jussie Smollett by two masked men who shouted pro-Trump slogans. There was an outpouring of anger and support for Smollett, with even the US president offering sympathy. 

But on 17 February the police inquiry changed. Rather than being treated as a victim, Smollett found himself under investigation and was accused of staging the attack. 

The Chicago-based journalist Zach Stafford has been following the case. He tells India Rakusen reporting on crime in the city is rarely straightforward – but this case was something else. 

Plus, in opinion: Lucy Knight, the winner of the 2019 Hugo Young award, which champions political opinion writing among UK postgraduate journalism students, who says being gay and a Christian can be hurtful and gruelling – but the church and the LGBT+ community have more in common than they sometimes think.

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