Movies & TV / Columns

The 411 Douchebag of the Week: Jussie Smollett

February 25, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Jussie Smollett

The 411mania Douchebag of the Week

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of The 411 Douchebag of the Week. I’m Bryan Kristopowitz.


Is the new Fox show Proven Innocent any good? Not really. It’s actually quite awful. I think the show would be more successful if it was about either Kelsey Grammer’s sleazy Gore Bellows character and his attempt at becoming attorney general of Illinois, or Rachelle Lefevre’s Madeline Scott character (woman sent to prison for a crime she didn’t commit, becomes a lawyer and helps defend the wrongfully accused), just not both at the same time. Grammer is, as usual, terrific being kind of a dick as Bellows, and Lefevre is appealing as an idealistic ex-con turned lawyer. They don’t really work well together in the same space, at least not at the moment.

Now, the show could probably also work, or at least be more interesting, if Grammer’s character led the law firm that Lefevre’s character works for and their backstory is Grammer used to be a big deal prosecutor, he convicted Lefevre, and now they work together to defend the wrongfully accused. Or something like that. I think that kind of show could work. But the show, as it exists now, is just terrible. There’s just way too much time spent on Lefevre’s character trying to come to terms with her past/trying to figure out whatever the hell it is she’s trying to figure out. It’s just not interesting.

Not every new show needs to have an overly complicated, ongoing, overarching story that each episode has to spend a third of its time on because broadcast networks have to compete with cable and streaming and “long form stories are in.” Broadcast should do what it does best: 22 one hour episodes a season and each episode is its own story. What’s wrong with doing that?

And is it me, or does the new NBC show The Enemy Within, based on the commercials NBC runs damn near every hour, look like a reworked The Blacklist?

And now onto this week’s Douchebag of the Week.



This week, the 411 Douchebag of the Week goes to now disgraced actor and singer Jussie Smollett, for apparently staging his own hate crime attack. The Chicago Police finally laid out what it believes actually happened regarding the hate crime perpetrated against the Empire actor. Smollett, who claimed that he was attacked in the middle of the night by two assailants, doused with some sort of chemical substance, and then adorned with a noose around his neck while the attackers yelled “this is MAGA country,” was actually responsible for the whole thing. In short, the attack was a hoax created by Smollett to somehow get more money from the producers of Empire.

When I first heard about this attack, the story sounded suspicious because there was just too much going on with it. A street beating and a bleach attack and a noose and an attacker yelling “This is MAGA country?” That’s way too complicated. I mean, it’s not impossible that all of those things could have happened, but was it likely? Probably not. There was also the threatening letter part of the story that no one seemed to be talking about. A mysterious threatening letter and then a street beating not that long after letter delivery? Was anyone looking into that? If anyone was, they were keeping their investigation a big secret. Why wasn’t anyone, especially the police, making a bigger deal out of that?

Yeah, this story didn’t seem all that “together.” But, again, stranger things have happened and, who the hell knows, it all could have been true. Maybe. One of those “one-in-a-million” things. I wanted to see what the police knew before coming to any sort of full opinion on the matter. The cops have revealed what they think happened, and it seems way more plausible than Smollett’s story.

Way fucking more plausible.

Now, Smollett continues to claim that he was attacked and that his story is true and he can’t understand why no one believes him. Smollett’s lawyers, after his arrest, have announced that they plan to provide their client with a “vigorous defense,” which, at the moment, looks like it will turn into the Bill Cosby/”It’s all a conspiracy against me!” defense before the end of the week. There’s major controversy over what the $3500 check, paid to two Nigerian brothers who were initially suspects and then released, was for the attack or for a personal trainer/nutrition plan, but that detail doesn’t seem that important in the big scheme of things (I’d also suspect that the Chicago authorities haven’t revealed their entire case against Smollett). It looks more and more like Smollett did this to himself. And that’s disgraceful.

I mean, if he wanted more money, why didn’t he have his agent/representatives negotiate, on his behalf, for more money? If Smollett didn’t think his reps were doing a good enough job, why didn’t he look for better/different reps? Why did Smollett think he could get away with staging a hate crime hoax against himself? Was he unaware that the Chicago Police would investigate the fuck out of his story because he’s a celebrity claiming that he got his ass kicked in their city? How could he be unaware of that?

And now, what do we have as a result of this hoax? Nothing good. Actual hate crime victims are going to have a harder time getting justice because now it will be even harder for people to believe them. And this had to happen because of money?



Jussie Smollett deserves no sympathy. He deserves endless disdain.

Do you think Smollett will eventually have to admit to what he apparently did, or do you think he’ll continue to claim he’s the victim of something, even when he’s in jail?

And, yes, we now have the early front runner for 2019 Douchebag of the Year.


And now for this week’s honorable mentions…

The “Liberal” Media, for not devoting all that much time to the captured white supremacist/Coast Guard member story. You would think that, after Christopher Paul Hasson was arrested by the FBI and his big plans were revealed, that the “liberal” media, one of Hasson’s alleged targets, would have talked a little more about white supremacist terrorists. It didn’t, though. And you would think after it was also revealed that Hanson had modeled his alleged plan after Norwegian white supremacist and mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik and after the Cesar Sayoc mail bomber story last year, there would be more interest in reporting on this shit. Again, didn’t happen. Why? Why was this the third story on the nightly news at best?

I know we’re politically polarized and no one believes anything anymore, but, shit, how many more guys like Hasson are out there? Shouldn’t we know, or at least try to find out?

Goodloe Sutton, the now former editor of the Democrat-Reporter newspaper in Linden, Alabama, for his “the KKK should night ride again editorial. This story was so insane I didn’t think it was real but, yeah, it’s real. However, the story did have a kind of happy ending in that Sutton no longer runs the newspaper. A black woman runs it now. But, still, Jesus Christ, what the hell is wrong with people? The KKK should go to Washington D.C. and start hanging “socialists and Communists”? Again, what the hell is wrong with people?

-New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, for getting caught up in a prostitution scandal after apparently having a masseuse perform a sex act on him in Florida You’d think a mega rich guy like Kraft would have prostitutes brought to him via henchmen and intermediaries and that he would never find himself in any sort of legal jeopardy because he needs a hand job or to get blown (whatever it is he had done to him it’s apparently on tape). I mean, is this him just being “cheap” (aren’t there high priced hookers for this kind of thing?) and stupid and self-destructive? And, shit, he better hope that this story doesn’t turn into a full-fledged “human trafficking” story because his reputation will be completely destroyed then.

And who else is going to be implicated in this scandal?

The Internets Outrage Machine, for losing its mind over a John Wayne interview from 1971 where Wayne was revealed to be a kind of homophobic racist asshole. Aren’t there more pressing things in the world to worry about than what John Wayne said in an interview with Playboy Magazine in 1971? I mean, if people want to use this interview as an example of how far we, as a world, still have to go (because there are still way too many people who still think like the Duke did back in 1971), fine. But people were acting like this interview was new news. It isn’t and it hasn’t been news for nearly four decades. The internets can do better than this. Right? Jesus Christ.


Thanks for reading. Agree? Disagree? Sign up with disqus and comment. You know you want to, so just go do it.

Please “like” The Gratuitous B-Movie Column on Facebook!

Oh, and B-movies rule. Always remember that.