Why the focus on Jussie Smollet and not Josh Duggar?


Trigger warning: this post mentions child sexual abuse. If this is triggering for you, please proceed with care.

Last week, there were two major court cases.

One featured Empire actor, Jussie Smollett. The other, 19 Kids and Counting’s Josh Duggar.

Journaists and YouTube commentators commented on both cases. Guess who got more attention from mainstream media?

Jussie Smollett

A jury found Jussie Smollett guilty of disorderly conduct and five counts of lying to police. This followed an incident in 2019 where Smollett falsely claimed that he’d been attacked by MAGA supporters. 

The media and celebrities took Smollett under their wing and praised him for his bravery. However, Smollett’s story collapsed pretty quickly.

At the end of January, Smollett refused to give police his phone as part of the investigation. Smollett eventually surrendered his phone. Police gained two people of interest: brothers Obabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, originally from Nigeria.

In February, police found out the relationshiop betwen Smollett and the Osundairo brothers. On the 20 February, police charged Smollett with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report.

There was footage of the Osundairo brothers buying the masks t worn by Smollett’s ‘attackers’. On the 21 February, police arrested Smollett. Empire’s executive producers suspended Smollett from the show. He could face up to three years in jail per offence.

Chicago police also want to sue Smollett for wasting police’s time and resources. The case has outraged the African – community when Smollett claimed that an attacker tried to attack him with a noose. This is symbolic of a lynch mob.

Black Lives Matter continues to support Smollett.

Josh Duggar

Josh Duggar can face up to 40 years in jail after he was convicted of downloading and possessing child sexual abuse material. 

When speaking about the sentence, US Attorney for Western District of Arkansas, Clay Fowlkes made a statement saying “no person was above the law”. 

This case has split the Duggar family and Jim Bob Duggar has recently lost his run for Senate in Arkansas. 

This hasn’t been the first time that the Duggars have been hit by allegations of sexual abuse. In 2015, media outlets reported that Josh had molested a number of young girls as a teenager back in 2002 and 2003. 

Due to statute of limitations, Josh couldn’t be prosecuted for these crimes.

Media’s response (and lack of)

Both the mainstream media and social media have been commenting on the Duggar and Smollett cases. 

But who has got the most attention? Jussie Smollett. This has been in Australia and the US. 

The Sky News Australia’s YouTube channel is full of videos of commentary and reporting on Jussie Smollett. 

Caleb Bond, Chris Smith and Liz Storrer discussing Jussie Smollett case
Chris Smith show one of many to report on Jussie Smollett case

Surprisingly, the newspapers has been silent on both cases. 

I haven’t seen any reporting or commentary on the Duggar case. 

I saw that Fox News have reported on both cases. However, on their Twitter, they had way more posts on Jussie Smollett. 

Where are the media’s priorities?

The media’s response has been really disappointing.

What Jussie Smollett did was stupid. . But the media’s response to it has been excessive compared to Duggar.

Duggar’s crime was appalling. Child sexual abuse has a number of negative effects. Many survivors of sexual abuse live with repercussions year after from depression, anxiety, PTSD and suicidal ideation. 

It’s something the media shouldn’t jsut ignore when it doesn’t fit their culture war narrative. 

We need to advocate for child sexual abuse survivors. It should beyond politics. 

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