Right-wing Activists Compare Bubba Wallace to Jussie Smollett, Stir Outrage

There has been widespread outrage online after a number of right-wing commentators have either showed skepticism or downright dismissed NASCAR's claims that a noose was found in Bubba Wallace's garage stall.

The macabre discovering was made at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, on Sunday afternoon, where Wallace was due to race in the Geico 500.

According to Marty Smith of ESPN, Wallace never saw the noose, which was spotted by a team member, who subsequently reported it to race organizers.

"Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team," NASCAR said in a statement.

"We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport."

The statement, however, was ridiculed as "another Jussie Smollett case" by a host of right-wing personalities. An actor on FOX's TV show Empire, in February last year Smollett claimed he was attacked by two strangers who beat him, before dousing him in bleach and leaving him with a rope tied against his round neck.

The case eventually led Chicago Police to arrest two brothers, Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo, before it emerged that Smollett had staged the attack and paid the two brothers a cheque of $3,500 to carry it out.

"How much u wanna bet we never see a single security tape of the garage, while the garage contains MILLIONS OF DOLLARS worth of equipment," No Mercy podcast host Tommy G tweeted of the Wallace story.

"This has Jussie Smollet [sic] written all over it. Just stop using the same playbook please. Can u switch it up? I'm not buying this. Sorry."

In a follow-up tweet, he suggested the incident was part of a conspiracy orchestrated by billionaire George Soros.

"Prepare for like 500 more of these over the next 6 months guys. [George] Soros ain't gunna [sic] let this race war die," Tommy G added.

"This was either completely fake and a stunt or some paid actor sent in to do this to blow up the news. The odds of this being another driver or part of their crew is .01 percent."

Prepare for like 500 more of these over the next 6 months guys. Soros ain’t gunna let this race war die.

This was either completely fake and a stunt or some paid actor sent in to do this to blow up the news.

The odds of this being another driver or part of their crew is .01%

— Tommy G (@TommyG) June 22, 2020

Washington Times columnist and FOX 5 contributor Tim Young, meanwhile, suggested it would be "super easy" for NASCAR to prove whether the incident was real.

"I won't scream Jussie Smollett part 2... but I will say that if this NASCAR noose thing is real, it will be SUPER EASY TO PROVE," he tweeted.

"You need credentials to get into garages at Talladega, everything is extra restricted now because of COVID, and there are cameras everywhere.

I won't scream Jussie Smollett part 2... but I will say that if this NASCAR noose thing is real, it will be SUPER EASY TO PROVE... You need credentials to get into garages at Talladega, everything is extra restricted now because of COVID, and there are cameras everywhere.

— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) June 22, 2020

Media analyst Mark Dice also questioned the veracity of NASCAR's report, suggesting the noose was "probably just an extension cord" hanging from the ceiling.

I call BS. Probably just an extension cord hanging from the ceiling. 99.9 percent of these “noose” stories turn out to be false.

— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) June 22, 2020

A number of other Twitter accounts echoed the stance, suggesting the incident was nothing but a "publicity stunt" and drawing comparisons with Smollett's case.

NASCAR: Noose Found in Black Driver Bubba Wallace’s Garage Stall at Talladega.

Does anyone else not believe this for a second?

— Catturd ™ (@catturd2) June 22, 2020

Seems like it's staged. No way anyone would do that with all the security cameras and people with camera phones all around. They would be fired and canceled immediately.

— Rocky is my Top (@hardknoxgrad04) June 22, 2020

A novel written by jussie smollett

— michael bird (@michaelbird36) June 22, 2020

I smell a set up. Wait 48 hours

— 🇺🇸PRESIDENT ELECT JPB (@Joreffy) June 22, 2020

Smells very jussie smollett

— Austin (@LuhBeef) June 22, 2020

This could obviously be legitimate. But honestly I’ll assume it’s a hoax until proven otherwise. Recent history backs this up.

— Jerms (@jeremyburns44) June 22, 2020

This better not be a PR stunt. I don’t want to hear this was his Jussie Smollett moment .... #NASCAR

— *** DEMOCRACY WINS AGAIN! *** (@JoeSteelerFan) June 22, 2020

There has been widespread condemnation of those citing Jussie Smollett when voicing their skepticism of NASCAR's claims. Actress Erika Heidewald denounced those comparing the two as "racist."

"Yes, saying the Bubba Wallace situation is 'another Jussie Smollett' is racist. You're only comparing the two because they're both Black and you're using the actions of one individual to dismiss an entire group. There are billions of Black people in the world," she said.

Yes, saying the Bubba Wallace situation is “another Jussie Smollett” is racist. You’re only comparing the two because they’re both Black and you’re using the actions of one individual to dismiss an entire group. There are billions of Black people in the world.

— Erika Heidewald Drinks MAGA Tears (@erikaheidewald) June 22, 2020

Meanwhile, sports commentator Mike Wise called the comparison "pathetic."

We got some real winners out here. This woman is inferring Bubba Wallace made the whole thing up, aka Jussie Smollett. Pathetic https://t.co/SzpicTXLdb

— Mike Wise (@MikeWiseguy) June 22, 2020

The only black driver in NASCAR, Wallace has been calling for change over the last few weeks, successfully pushing for the organization to ban the Confederate flag from its racetrack and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

The incident, Wallace said, was "a painful reminder" of the distance society still has to cover to eradicate racism.

"Today's despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism," he tweeted.

Bubba Wallace, NASCAR
Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet, waits on the grid prior to during the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on June 10 in Martinsville, Virginia. Jared C. Tilton/Getty