Get-out-of-jail free card for the rich

After allegedly staging his own beating and disguising the deed as a homophobic and racist attack, actor Jussie Smollett should have had to answer to his crimes. But he did not as  Chicago prosecutors dropped all charges against him.

Smollett, known for his role as singer Jamal Joseph Lyon on the popular television show “Empire,” reported to police that he was attacked on Jan. 29 by two men in the name of racism and anti-gay ideals. After the incident,  Smollett received support from the public, including politicians and celebrities outraged by the attack.

However, as police further investigated into the case, they found evidence that led them to believe that the attack was faked and arrested Smollett. Police stated that they had in possession the check that Smollett used to pay the two accomplices, who he was acquainted with. Even with the evidence stacked up against him, Smollett still refused to admit his wrongdoing, asserting throughout the case he was telling nothing but the truth.

He was charged with 16 accounts of felony and removed from his acting position on “Empire.” While the charges were dropped on the grounds of “reviewing the case’s facts and in view of his agreement to forfeit his $10,000 bond” according to CNN, Smollett’s career will never be the same.

During times when racism and homophobic acts are so prevalent in our society, it is almost too easy for people to take advantage of it. Smollett is a prime example, as he obviously wanted to increase his own publicity by staging a fake attack. This creates a shameful stigma not only surrounding him, but for anyone in the future who actually is a victim from a hate crime. In the event that someone actually falls victim to a racist or homophobic attack, people will most likely think of the Smollett case, wondering if an attack is the real deal or just a public stunt.

That Smollett’s case was dropped so quickly reveals how those with  financial success and power can get away with almost anything. Pop artist Chris Brown beat up his then girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, with very little repercussion to his musical career as his 2011 and 2013 albums reached the top of the U.S. Billboard chart.

Another example is Justin Bieber, who has found himself in trouble with the law on multiple occasions with little to no repercussions. To name a few instances, Bieber has smoked marijuana, attacked a paparazzo and drove under the influence. However, after escapades like these Bieber has managed to avoid severe punishment and continues to be a major pop star,  scoring hits with “What Do You Mean?” and “Love Yourself” in 2016.

Seen as pop culture icons, many celebrities experienced little to minimal loss in their careers after their legally questionable actions. In the same way, it isn’t lawful that Smollett is getting away with this crime with only a slap on the wrist. In addition, both the former mayor of Chicago and city police have questioned why prosecutors did not charge him, despite the evidence.

Jussie Smollett’s deed is something that should not go unnoticed. Lying to the police should result in severe consequences and it is unsettling that Smollett did not get punished. Moving forward from this incident, we should become learn from situations like these so that justice can be properly served in the future.