In 2019, “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett claimed he was assaulted by White Trump supporters while returning from dinner in an affluent Chicago neighborhood. His account of the incident had gaping holes that left several questions unanswered.
Nevertheless, Smollett’s “attack” – immediately dubbed an act of racism, dominated the coverage in many major media organizations. Several Democratic lawmakers called for congressional action. Media pundits said the incident was a symptom of a divisive Oval Office occupant.
Two years later, Republican California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder, a Black man seeking to unseat Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom was publically attacked by a White person – this time on camera. But despite the disturbing footage and unquestionable nature of the assault, liberal media organizations didn’t seem particularly interested.
The New York Times, who previously rushed to cast Smollett’s incident as a “racist and homophobic attack,” briefly mentioned the Elder assault 14 paragraphs down in an article ripping his candidacy, but the liberal publication otherwise ignored the story through Thursday evening.
The Los Angeles Times tweeted at the time that Smollett was “assaulted early Tuesday morning in Chicago and hospitalized after an attack police are calling a possible hate crime.”
On Thursday, the newspaper sang a very different tune, offering readers a vague explanation for why Elder was forced to cut short his visit to the area.
“Larry Elder cuts short Venice homeless encampment tour after hostile reception,” the headline read.
CNN’s Don Lemon condemned Smollett’s attack extensively on-air, revealing that he texted the actor to check in daily following the incident. After an investigation, police discovered that Smollett likely orchestrated the supposed hate crime against himself, hiring two Nigerian brothers to “assault” him and drive up public sympathy. Nevertheless, Lemon implied the events surrounding Smollett were “not his fault.”
Mainstream outlets appeared to take their cues from Democratic lawmakers, who have chosen to stay silent on Elder’s attack despite their online outrage and public condolences for Smollett in 2019.
“@JussieSmollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know,” then-Sen. Kamala Harris wrote in a tweet at the time. “I’m praying for his quick recovery. 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.”
Vice President Harris did not address the Elder incident as of Friday morning.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the “racist and homophobic attack” on Smollett an “affront to our humanity.” The Speaker’s Twitter feed however made no mention of Elder in the hours after his attack.
Political commentator Dave Rubin called out the Democratic leader for her glaring double standard on Twitter Thursday.
Rubin challenged his nearly one million followers to contrast the silence surrounding Elder’s assault to “what politicians and blue check people said about America when the Jussie Smollett hoax happened.”
“Let’s juxtapose that with their silence on something that actually occurred,” Rubin wrote.
Rubin’s followers resurfaced a since-deleted tweet from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who was quick to condemn the “racist and homophobic attack.”
“Hey Wonder Woman of Intellect @aoc, anything to say about the attack on @larryelder by a white woman in a gorilla mask? Or do you only comment on totally made up stories that fit your narrative?” Rubin wrote alongside the post.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders denounced “the racist and homophobic attack on Jussie Smollett” as “a horrific instance of the surging hostility toward minorities around the country. We must come together to eradicate all forms of bigotry and violence,” he wrote in a tweet still on his feed.
Rubin’s followers highlighted Sanders’ failure to address the Elder incident.
Elder ripped the media and Democrats for their silence on the story, telling “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Thursday that if he were a Democrat, the incident would “be called systematic racism,” or a “hate crime.”
He added that the media has tried to avoid even identifying him as Black or as the potential first Black governor of California.