Another embarrassing chapter in the Jussie Smollett hoax case unfolded on Thursday and, once again, the chief cheerleader for the fraudulent claims was absent from covering it. In 2019, Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts devoted almost 18 minutes to Smollett’s claims that MAGA-loving fanatics attacked him with racial slurs and a noose.
GMA went 666 days before returning to the case. By that time, the case had crumbled and the Empire actor was found guilty for faking a hate crime. On that day, December 10, 2021, Roberts was absent from the show as others on GMA covered it. On Friday, all three morning shows covered his sentencing. Yet again, Roberts was missing from the show.
Instead, it was left to reporter Alex Perez who explained the sentencing: “Smollett defiant as he was taken to custody after being sentenced to 30 months of felony probation ordered to pay restitution of more than $120,000 to the city and a $25,000 fine. He'll spend the first 150 days of his sentence in jail, all stemming from his conviction in December on five counts of felony disorderly conduct for lying to Chicago police about an alleged attack back in 2019.”
The judge in the trial condemned Smollett to his face in a dramatic courtroom moment: “Just a charlatan pretending to be a victim of a hate crime. Your very name has become an adverb for lying and I couldn't imagine what would be worse than that.”
From February 12, 2020 to December 9th 2021, GMA avoided any updates on the disintegrating claims of Smollett. The next day, the show finally returned to it.
On February 14, 2019, Good Morning America's Robin Roberts devoted a whopping 17 minutes and 52 seconds to her “exclusive” interview of the actor recounting his claims. Roberts practically acted as a PR agent, hailing the Empire star who claimed MAGA-loving maniacs recognized him on the streets of Chicago in the middle of the night and happened to have a noose.
On Thursday, previewing the sentencing, GMA allowed 18 seconds and Roberts was there for that. But for the big stories on Smollett, she always seems to be missing.
The coverage of Smollett on Friday was sponsored by Old Navy. Click on the link to let them know what you think.
A transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Good Morning America
7:35:00 AM ET
2 minutes and 2 seconds
MICHAEL STRAHAN: Former Empire star Jussie Smollett is waking up behind bars after being sentenced for staging a hate crime. Alex Perez is in Chicago with the latest. Good morning, Alex.
ALEX PEREZ: Hey, good morning, Michael. Smollett had a number of high-profile names defend his character in court, but none of it was enough to sway the judge who called him a narcissist and a liar who staged the attack to become more famous.
JUSSIE SMOLLET: I am not suicidal and I'm innocent. I could have said that I was guilty a long time ago.
PEREZ: This morning, former Empire actor jussie Smollett is waking up in Chicago's Cook County jail. Smollett defiant as he was taken to custody after being sentenced to 30 months of felony probation ordered to pay restitution of more than $120,000 to the city and a $25,000 fine. He'll spend the first 150 days of his sentence in jail, all stemming from his conviction in December on five counts of felony disorderly conduct for lying to Chicago police about an alleged attack back in 2019.
SMOLLETT: If I did this, it means I stuck my fist in the fears of black Americans in this country for over 400 years. And the fears of the LGBTQ community.
PEREZ: Before handing down the sentence, the judge calling Smollett's actions shameful saying his extreme premeditation, paying two brothers to shout racist and homophobic slur, pour bleach on him and put a noose around his neck was an aggravating factor.
JAMES JAMES LINN: Just a charlatan pretending to be a victim of a hate crime. Your very name has become an adverb for lying and I couldn't imagine what would be worse than that.
PEREZ: Smollett's family continuing to proclaim his innocence despite the guilty verdict.
JOCQUI SMOLLETT (brother): He is a survivor and he has been completely mistreated and this has to stop.
PEREZ: And Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot issuing a statement much all this saying the city feels vindicated and that false claims like this one will not be tolerated. Guys.