Is ‘shameless’ Obama Center hate-crime just more ‘fake noose’?

The discovery of a “noose” at the construction site of the future Obama Presidential Center in Chicago brought work on the massive $830 million project to a halt last week.

A wave of moral outrage ensued, with Lakeside Alliance, the consortium of construction companies undertaking the project, issuing a statement saying: “We are horrified that this would occur on our site and are offering a $100,000 reward to help find the individual or individuals responsible for this shameful act. Lakeside Alliance remains committed to providing a work environment where everyone can feel safe, be their best self, and is treated with dignity and respect.”

“We are suspending all operations onsite,” the statement added, “in order to provide another series of these trainings and conversations for all staff and workers.”

The Obama Foundation likewise released a statement decrying the appearance of the “noose,” saying: “This shameless act of cowardice and hate is designed to get attention and divide us. Our priority is protecting the health and safety of our workforce.”

Also weighing in was Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who tweeted, “Hate has no place in Illinois. The noose is more than a symbol of racism, it is a heart-stopping reminder of the violence and terror inflicted on Black Americans for centuries.”

The event is reportedly under investigation by the Chicago Police Department.

Although no perpetrator has yet been identified, and Democratic politicians and major media voices continue to express outrage, many conservatives are voicing skepticism:

“Have you heard a story like this before?” asked Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. “Well, it wasn’t that long ago in the middle of a national crime wave, which it has done very little to solve, the FBI rushed a team of agents to a NASCAR garage after a character called Bubba Wallace suggested that a noose had been left in that garage. Turns out the noose was a garage door pull,” he said.

“I’m guessing this is #FakeNoose,” tweeted Dinesh D’Souza, bestselling author and documentary filmmaker.

“I’ll take ‘hate crime hoaxes’ for $3,500, Alex,” tweeted Scott Morefield at Townhall.

And Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire tweeted, “Definitely a hate crime. I can’t imagine any other reason why a rope would be on a construction site. Also, this is Chicago. It’s not a place known for hate crime hoaxes.”

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Walsh’s Chicago reference was an allusion to the high-profile hate crime hoax perpetrated by actor Jussie Smollet, who still insists he was attacked by two racist and homophobic Trump supporters in sub-zero temperatures on the streets of Chicago during a 2019 snowstorm. Smollett told police the two attackers wore “Make America Great Again” hats, beat him up, doused him with bleach and tied a noose around his neck.

Except Smollet had made the whole thing up, and in December 2021 was finally found guilty in court of having staged a fake hate crime to boost his acting career.

Smollet’s fake hate crime was not an exception. In fact, virtually every reported instance of supposed white supremacist “hate crimes” featuring nooses in modern times has turned out to be a hoax. As columnist and author Michelle Malkin noted in “Malkin’s handy history of fake noose,” “Fake Noose is a sick phenomenon that has run rampant across the country unchecked.” Here are a few examples of this “self-victimization pathology” Malkin cites:

* University of Delaware, 2015. Black Lives Matter agitators and campus activists triggered a full alert when a student spotted a “racist display” of three “noose-like objects” hanging from trees. The UD president called it “deplorable”; protesters wept that they were not being taken seriously. After investigating, police discovered the “nooses” were metal “remnants of paper lanterns” hung as decorations during an alumni weekend celebration.

* Salisbury State University, 2016. Students, faculty and administrators were horrified when a stick figure hanging from a noose on a whiteboard was discovered at the school’s library. The N-word and hashtag #WhitePower also appeared in the menacing graffiti. Campus authorities immediately launched an investigation, which exposed two black students as the perpetrators. Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against the Fake Noosers.

* Kansas State University, 2017. A paroxysm of protest struck K-State after someone reported a noose hanging from a tree on campus. Black students lambasted authorities for not acting quickly enough. They stoked anger online with the hashtag #DontLeaveUsHanging and demanded increased security. But the “noose” was made of cut pieces of nylon parachute cord, which police believed had been discarded by someone who “may have simply been practicing tying different kinds of knots.”

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