Many critics agree with journalists Van Jones and Robin Roberts in that Smollett's hate crime hoax is a setback for both black people and LGBTQ people, but most specifically, queer people of color. According to Deadline, Roberts said:
“I cannot think of another case where there is this anger on so many sides, and you can understand why there would be,” Roberts said on the ABC show this morning. Her assessment came shortly after Smollett’s arrest on a felony charge of filing a false police report.
The Smollett news is disheartening and infuriating to many. But many Black LGBTQ commentators and journalists have vehemently expressed that, on one hand, Smollett should be held accountable if everything turns out to be true. But they have also expressed that there are black trans and queer people who face discrimination and violence, and we should believe survivors. One hoax does not change that.
While many are hurt over what Smollett has allegedly done, marganized people of color typically don't get sympathy when "they mess up," and some believe Smollett deserves help and a second chance. Blog Celeb Hood argues that Smollett's alleged fake assault is a cry for help and that—if all is true—he deserves sympathy, not condemnation.
But this was much bigger than a salary dispute. Smollett’s alleged stunt was a poorly planned cry for help from a man with an admitted drug problem who is obviously dissatisfied with his life and career, and perhaps is in the throes of a major mental health emergency. Besides sympathy, Smollett had nothing to gain from this alleged hoax and the only difference between him and the millions of Americans struggling with their mental health is that he had a platform to project his alleged victim fantasy to the world.