Fox News Hosts Slam Media Over Jussie Smollett Coverage: 'Political Hate Crime...Motivated by Hatred for Republicans to Frame Them'

The hosts of Fox News show The Five piled on criticism of actor Jussie Smollett and the media coverage around an alleged racist attack on the Empire actor, which may have been staged.

Led by host Greg Gutfeld, four of the five panellists called out media organizations for their sympathetic coverage of the attack, suggesting outlets were guilty of putting the blame on supporters of President Donald Trump without sufficient evidence.

Gutfeld said there were many "faces covered in egg" in the media world, given allegations by the two suspects in the alleged assault, who said Smollett orchestrated the January incident.

Smollett said he was attacked by two unidentified men in Chicago early on the morning of January 29. The actor said the men yelled Trump slogans along with racist and homophobic slurs during the assault, punching him, placing a rope around his neck and pouring an unknown chemical substance on him.

But the two brothers arrested by Chicago police Wednesday claimed that Smollett paid them to carry out the attack. Both men have been released and are cooperating with authorities. Smollett has denied staging the incident.

On The Five, Gutfeld blamed the media for encouraging fake hate crimes by providing intensive coverage without performing due diligence. It should be noted that police have not yet confirmed that Smollett's case was a hoax.

"Sure, the idea of Trump-ers wandering in subzero Chicago at 2 a.m. carrying bleach and a noose, attacking some actor from a show they don't even watch without taking his phone, wallet or sandwich seemed about as real as me joining The View," he said. "But Smollett was the perfect victim for a media that deems any skepticism heresy. That's why these hoaxes are not rare. It's the press orgy that attracts them."

"So many hate crimes are reported, then they go unreported once they're exposed as hoaxes," he added. "Those hoaxes, they are easy to find, though the media wishes you wouldn't look. They want you to forget them like they do every day so they can commit the same damn mistake tomorrow."

Jesse Watters criticized Smollett for thinking he could trick Chicago police into buying the story. "How stupid did he think the police were?" Watters asked. "What low opinion of police do you have to have to be able to try to pull this off?"

But his most pointed allegations were also for the media. "The media's not even looking for the truth anymore. They're just looking for a story," he said. "They get a good story and weaponize it against Republicans. It's now a political hate crime, and that's when you're motivated by hatred for Republicans to frame them."

Watters went on to claim the same thing happened with the Covington Catholic High School racism scandal—when a group of students were accused of harassing a Native American man at a rally in Washington, D.C.—and with the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh—when the judge faced accusations of sexual assault and perjury.

But one contributor was less enthusiastic in his criticism of Smollett and the media. Veteran journalist Juan Williams pointed out the irony of the Fox News panel attacking the media for its mistakes before all the information was even available.

"You're wrong because we don't know all the facts yet," Williams said to Gutfeld, who repeatedly attempted to shout over his colleague. "He hasn't spoken to the police," Williams said.

"He should talk to the police, he should give them access, if he wants to redeem what looks to be a farce, at this point," Williams said. "I'm telling you, you should wait."

Jussie Smollett
This December 2, 2018, photo shows actor Jussie Smollett arriving at the Trevor Live Los Angeles Gala 2018, in Beverly Hills, California. VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images