‘Disappointed’ Kamala Harris breaks her silence on Jussie Smollett case three weeks after calling it a ‘modern day lynching’
- Harris made a statement on Thursday following Smollett’s arrest in Chicago
- Broke her silence on the case to say she is ‘sad, frustrated and disappointed’
- Said ‘part of the tragedy’ is alleged hoax will distract from real hate crimes
- Harris initially jumped on Smollett’s claims, calling it a ‘modern day lynching’
Senator Kamala Harris has broken her silence on the Jussie Smollett case, three weeks after calling the alleged hate hoax a ‘modern day lynching’.
Harris, a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, issued a statement on Thursday, hours after ignoring reporters’ questions on the case at a lunch meeting with Rev. Al Sharpton in Harlem.
‘Like most of you, I’ve seen the reports about Jussie Smollett, and I’m sad, frustrated and disappointed,’ said Harris, a California Democrat.
Smollett was arrested on Thursday morning in Chicago, after police said he paid two Nigerian brothers to stage an assault which he claimed was perpetrated by white men shouting vile racist and homophobic slurs.
Senator Kamala Harris (left) has broken her silence on the Jussie Smollett (right) case, three weeks after calling the alleged hate hoax a ‘modern day lynching’
Earlier on Thursday, Harris had lunch with Rev. Al Sharpton at Sylvia’s Restaurant in the Harlem neighborhood of New York
Kamala Harris’ full statement on Jussie Smollet’s arrest
Like most of you, I’ve seen the reports about Jussie Smollett, and I’m sad, frustrated and disappointed. When anyone makes false claims to police, it not only diverts resources away from serious investigations but it makes it more difficult for other victims of crime to come forward.
At the same time, we must speak the truth: hate crimes are on the rise in America. Just last year, the FBI released statistics that revealed a 17 percent increase in the number of hate crimes in America.
Part of the tragedy of this situation is that it distracts from that truth, and has been seized by some who would like to dismiss and downplay the very real problems that we must address. We should not allow that. I will always condemn racism and homophobia. We must always confront hate directly, and we must always seek justice. That is what I will keep fighting for.
Harris continued in her statement to denounce making false reports and cite FBI statistics that hate crimes are ‘on the rise in America.’
‘Part of the tragedy of this situation is that it distracts from that truth, and has been seized by some who would like to dismiss and downplay the very real problems that we must address. We should not allow that,’ Harris said.
Harris vowed to ‘condemn racism and homophobia’ and ‘confront hate directly.’
Originally, on January 30, Harris had said of the case:
‘@JussieSmollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery,’ she wrote on Twitter in January.
‘This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate,’ she noted.
Reporters peppered Harris with questions about the Smollett case as she and Sharpton left lunch, which she did not respond to. Sharpton said they did not discuss the case at lunch
She was hardly along among the Democrat presidential hopefuls to quickly speak out about Smollett’s claims in the days after he reported the attack on January 29.
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey also called the incident a ‘modern-day lynching.’
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders also leaped to condemn the attack.
Earlier on Thursday, reporters peppered Harris with questions about the Smollett case as she left lunch with Rev. Sharpton at Sylvia’s Soul Food in Harlem, a traditional pilgrimage for seekers of the Democratic nomination.
Sharpton said the situation with Jussie Smollett did not come up during their 30 minute sit down.
‘We didn’t discuss that at all,’ he said.