Letters to the Editor: Jussie Smollett did damage to our society. He deserves jail time

Jussie Smollett walks in a mask and coat, flanked by family members holding his arms.
Actor Jussie Smollett leaves a Chicago courthouse with unidentified siblings after his Dec. 9 guilty verdict.
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

To the editor: LZ Granderson’s column on Jussie Smollett’s disgrace being punishment enough omitted a salient point — is fabricating a hate crime where none exists itself a hate crime? If so, shouldn’t the perpetrator of such a crime do time?

National leaders spread Smollett’s false claim that he was the target of a hate crime at an alarming rate. Shouting “fire!” in a crowded Zoom meeting is very dangerous. Those without the brains, morals or both to verify the claims caused a stampede of national unrest.

Smollett has done much harm to society. His doing jail time might dissuade others from perpetrating a similar act.


Steve Kiener, Cincinnati


To the editor: On April 26, 2005, Jennifer Wilbanks fled her home in Duluth, Ga., to avoid her upcoming wedding and later falsely claimed she was kidnapped. Wilbanks accepted a plea agreement that included probation, community service and a fine.

She completed her probation, avoided jail and her record was expunged.

Let’s consider Smollett, who in 2019 claimed that he was attacked by MAGA-hat-wearing goons spewing anti-Black and homophobic slurs. His credibility shot, he greedily guards his foolish pride.

However, as Granderson wrote, slamming Smollett into prison doesn’t serve justice. He’s confined in his self-constructed prison.

Shame, shame, shame.

Marc D. Greenwood, Camp Hill, Ala.


To the editor: I do not agree with Granderson that Smollett should not be sent to jail. Smollett lied to the police and also to the public, and judging by the guilty verdict he continued to lie in court.


I recall a regular Times column from years ago called “Question Corner.” It often printed responses from children to profound questions. The one I clipped and retained asked students what the greatest lesson they learned was. One kid said this: “The most important lesson is to always tell the truth. If you lie, you will get in more trouble. If you don’t, you might just get in a little trouble.”

Jim Kelly, Manhattan Beach