Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) released a new statement on Thursday about the charges from Chicago police that Jussie Smollett orchestrated the racial and homophobic attack he reported.
The 2020 presidential candidate had previously called the attack a "modern day lynching," but appeared confused and speechless when she was later confronted about the tweet in light of developments indicating a hoax.
"Like most of you, I've seen the reports about Jussie Smollett, and I'm sad, frustrated, and disappointed," she said in the new statement posted to her Twitter account.
"When anyone makes false claims to police," she continued, "it not only diverts resources away from serious investigations but it makes it more difficult for other victims of crime to come forward. At the same time, we must speak the truth: hate crimes are on the rise in America.
"Just last year, the FBI released statistics that revealed a 17 percent increase in the number of hate crimes in America," she added. "Part of the tragedy of this situation is that it distracts from the truth, and has been seized by some who would like to dismiss and downplay the very real problems that we must address.
"We should not allow that," she said.
"I will always condemn racism and homophobia," Harris concluded. 'We must always confront hate directly, and we must always seek justice. That is what I will keep fighting for."
Although she is using the occasion to attack those who use the example to point to improvement in race relations in recent decades, Harris did not refer to her first reaction.
.@JussieSmollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery. This… https://t.co/fAIQ2C1WRW— Kamala Harris (@Kamala Harris) 1548797413.0
"This was an attempted modern day lynching," she tweeted in January. "No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate."
Smollett was charged with filing a false police report on Wednesday after weeks of fending off critics of his claims that two masked men yelled racist and homophobic slurs while beating him and yelling, "this is MAGA country!" at 2 a.m. in Chicago.
Here's a Fox News report about Harris' statement:
Kamala Harris releases statement on Jussie Smollett charges www.youtube.com