President Joe Biden's nominee to run the civil rights division of the Department of Justice promoted the hate crime hoax perpetrated by Jussie Smollett in January of 2019.
"Jussie Smollett was subjected to a racist and homophobic attack," Kristen Clarke tweeted on the day of the incident. "2 white men wearing ski masks attacked him, put a rope around his neck, and poured bleach on him and as they yelled slurs."
Daily Caller was first to report Clarke's promotion of the hoax. Smollett had claimed that a group of MAGA hat-sporting Trump supporters had attacked him in the streets of Chicago, telling police and the public that the men had shouted homophobic and racist slurs at him and placed a noose around his neck.
Smollett had received public support from Democratic politicians including then-Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
Conservatives immediately expressed skepticism about Smollett's claims, noting that there are probably not that many MAGA hat-wearing Trump supporters lynching people in Chicago.
The skepticism turned out to be justified, as it was later revealed during a police investigation that the alleged hate crime targeting Smollett was a hoax. Two men, both of whom were black, admitted to being paid by Smollett to beat him up in order to fabricate a hate crime.
Clarke, however, had also criticized the police investigation of Smollett's claims after investigators requested access to Smollett's cell phone data.
"This is NOT how you treat survivors of a hate crime," Clarke tweeted. She continued by demanding that police "[stop] demonizing survivors and casting doubt on their claims" despite the fact that the doubt turned out to be justified.
Smollett was charged with filing a false police report, but the charges were later dropped, sparking a special prosecutor investigation which led to Smollett being indicted on six felony charges relating to the incident. Smollett still maintains his innocence in the case.
More than a year after the hoax had been revealed, however, Clarke criticized the use of a special prosecutor to investigate
"[When] a duly elected Black prosecutor, Kim Foxx, uses her discretion to move on from the Jussie Smolett matter, it’s a different story," Clarke wrote. "A special prosecutor is brought in to undermine her power."
Clarke has been the subject of controversy since her nomination was announced, with Republicans raising concerns over her past racist statements and endorsement of a speaker at Harvard who has been widely decried as antisemitic. Republicans have argued that a person with her history is not fit to run the civil rights division of the DOJ.
In one article for the Harvard Crimson, Clarke argued that there are "genetic differences between blacks and whites." She claimed that "blacks sit, crawl, and walk sooner than whites" and that black people have "greater mental, physical, and spiritual abilities" due to a higher presence of melanin.
While at Harvard, Clarke also invited Tony Martin to speak on campus. Author of The Jewish Onslaught, Martin has argued that there is a "Jewish onslaught against black people," has discussed the alleged "tactics of organized Jewry," and spoke at Holocaust denial conferences. Clarke has described Martin as "an intelligent, well-versed black intellectual who bases his information on indisputable fact."