A conspiracy theory that presidential hopeful Senator Kamala Harris aided actor Jussie Smollett’s alleged attempts to fake a hate crime have spread across Twitter and Facebook, Storyful reported, based on an analysis of traffic on the sites.
Smollett was arrested last week on suspicion of filing a false police report that he had been assaulted by two MAGA-hat wearing Trump supporters. On Thursday, February 21, the day the Chicago police held a press conference on Smollett’s case, Storyful found a large number of social media posts mentioning Smollett, Harris and another candidate for president, Senator Corey Booker.
The posts falsely claimed that Smollett, who is Jewish, and Harris are related, or that Smollett had coordinated his fake assault with Harris and Booker so as to boost her anti-lynching bill. Smollett famously reported that the two men placed a noose around his neck.
People who spread the theory pointed to the fact that both Booker and Harris called the assault on Smollett a “modern day lynching” on the day it was first reported.
Storyful found that the theory about collusion between Smollett, Harris and Booker were incubated on 4chan, the fringe forum site; Gab, the micro-blogging service similar to Twitter where hate speech is common; and Reddit. A tweet from Conservative actor James Woods amplified the theory considerably.