After the alleged hate crime committed against Empire actor Jussie Smollett, Ellen Page was one of the more vocal celebrities to condemn the perpetrator's actions. In an essay for The Hollywood Reporter, that comes after police now believe the incident was a hoax staged by the actor, Page says she does not regret her initial statements.
"I don't know [Jussie Smollett] personally. I send him all of my love," Page originally told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show earlier this month. "Connect the dots. This is what happens. If you are in a position of power, and you hate people, and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering, what do you think is going to happen? Kids are going to be abused, and they will kill themselves, and people will be beaten on the street."
Text messages and money exchanged between Smollett and the two alleged perpetrators have shifted police's thinking, and Smollett is now being treated as a suspect. Despite this turn of events, Page writes in THR that she "had no reason to doubt" Smollett, and stresses that fighting hate is now more important than ever.
"My work on Gaycation — the docuseries I produced to chronicle LGBTQ+ stories from around the world — introduced me to many survivors of hate violence," she said in the essay. "I know how prevalent and pernicious it can be. If this situation was staged, it could make victims even more reluctant to report these crimes. Very real crimes."
Page went on to cite data from the FBI that shows reported hate crimes rose 17% in 2018, and that a recent study from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found it was the "deadliest year on record for the LGBTQ+ community."
"The statistics are plentiful and powerful and all point to a rising tide of hate violence," she stressed, going on to add, "I ask you not to question our pain, not to draw into question our trauma, but to maintain, wholeheartedly, that hate violence exists. The merits of one case should not and cannot call that into question. The media coverage does not convey the reality and totality of the cruelty and danger we face. This is the story that must be told."