KABOOM! Al Sharpton Just Blew Up My Head!

(Did you know that Ethic Alarms has the web’s most complete archive of head-exploding graphics?)

This is amazing. I’m pretty sure Al Sharpton has won the award for outrageous gall for all eternity. How could anyone top this?

And yes, he blew up my head.


Al actually said this during his MSNBC show about the Jussie Smollett hoax:

“I, among many others when hearing of the report, said that the reports were horrific and that we should come with all that we can come with in law enforcement to find out what happened and the guilty should suffer the maximum. I still maintain that. And if it is that Smollett and these gentlemen did in some way perpetuate something that is not true, they ought to face accountability to the maximum.”

Accountability to the maximum for a divisive hate crime hoax? Hmmmm…I’m sure I have a memory of a prominent African American race-baiter who converted a race crime hoax of his own into national celebrity, political power, influence with the first black President, and long-term job as host of a news punditry program. Who could that be? It’s right on the tip of my tongue, but now I see that my tongue is stuck on the ceiling.

In 1987, teenager Tawana Brawley claimed she was raped by a group of white men who wrote racial slurs on her body, smeared her with feces and wrapped her in a plastic bag. Local activist Al Sharpton became her champion and her mouthpiece, exacerbating racial tensions in New York City and nation. Later, Sharpton’s former aide Perry McKinnon said that Sharpton was  unconcerned with whether Brawley was telling the truth, and was exploiting the case to “tak[e] over the town,” as he had heard Sharpton say. Shapton also said, accoprding to McKinnon, that the case could make him and Brawley’s other advisers “the biggest niggers in New York.”

Almost veryone initially believed the horrible story, blacks most of all.  Bill Cosby offered a $25,000 reward for information on the case. Promoter Don King pledged $100,000 toward Brawley’s education. In December 1987, a thousand people marched through the streets of in support of Brawley.

Brawley named several prominent white men, including a former assistant district attorney as her attackers. Then an investigation and grand jury report indicated that her story was a hoax, concocted to avoid punishment from her stepfather for staying out all night. She never testified under oath, and never admitted her lies. The Brawley family fled New York state, after Reawley’s mother became a fugitive for refusing to appear before the grand jury. Sharpton never explicitly admitted that the episode was a hoax, and never apologized. In 1998, Stephen Pagones, the former prosecutor accused by Brawley, sued Sharpton for $395 million. The jury found Sharpton liable for making seven defamatory statements about Pagones, and damages were assessed at $345,000. Sharpton refused to pay the award for years, and it was eventually paid by donations from his supporters. Brawley was also sued, and only started paying defamation damages six years ago after her employer was ordered to garnish her wages.

Sharpton used his publicity from the Brawley hoax to elevate his status from an obscure Jesse Jackson acolyte to the most visible race rabble-rouser in New York. He still defends his position regarding Brawley, saying as late as 2007,

“I disagreed with the grand jury on Brawley. I believed there was enough evidence to go to trial. Grand jury said there wasn’t. Okay, fine. Do I have a right to disagree with the grand jury? Many Americans believe O.J. Simpson was guilty. A jury said he wasn’t. So I have as much right to question a jury as they do. Does it make somebody a racist? No! They just disagreed with the jury. So did I”

There are millions and millions of people in the United States who can credibly say that a hate-crime hoaxer should face maximum accountability. Al Sharpton, however, is one of the very few Americans who is ethically estopped from saying such a thing, about Jussie Smollett, about anyone, ever. The only question for me is whether Sharpton condemning Smollett is worse that Hillary Clinton saying during the 2016 campaign that all women who claim to have been sexually abused should be believed. That one exploded my head too.

Heck, let’s have a poll:


41 thoughts on “KABOOM! Al Sharpton Just Blew Up My Head!

      • But that’s estoppel. Even if something is true, your conduct can exclude you from benefiting from it. Remember Ted Kennedy during the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings? Do you really think anyone wanted to hear him attack Thomas for sexual misconduct in the workplace?

        He can be right and still be an asshole for saying so.

        • Not entirely. Estoppel can prevent you from contradicting an earlier position for your benefit. It is not truth dependent.

          Here, it is not clear that Al’s contradiction is to his benefit now.


          • Sue it is. He’s virtue-signaling. Taking a position designed to falsely improve trust in his values and judgment, and they are not values he actually has lived by or possesses….or believes in.

            • I agree with Jack on this one as it relates to Sharpton. Sharpton never atoned for his actions. He never recognized that the allegations were completely false. In fact, he doubled down on them when he rationalized what Brawley had done. His position was, “erm . . . well, these guys may not have raped and humiliated this girl, this time. But it could happen to anyone so we should be vigilant in defending victims of rape and racism.” Until he answers for his actions everything he says or does should be accompanied with an asterisk: “Yeah, this is the same Tawana Brawley blow-hard who flamed racial tensions because of completely baseless, bogus allegation of racially-motivate rape of an underaged Black girl.”


              • In an unfair twist of fate, Brawley IS making payments, reparations if you prefer.

                And despite the coerced nature of said payments, it’s a damn sight better than what that epic POS Sharpton has done.

                FWIW, my Dear nearly 94 year-old Father (a career Lefty), who spent his entire professional career in Corrections, can’t stand the sight of Sharpton.

                I always look forward to seeing that race-baiting fuck on the TV over at my folks’ house; it’s a true Father-Son experience!

  1. I agree it is terrible that he is saying it, but if you ignore the speaker the statement is not wrong. I’m torn on the answer for this one.

    • So I settled on Hillary’s being worse because what Sharpton is saying, by the statement itself, is ethically defensible, while Clinton’s one cannot stand, even if stated by the Pope (current holder of the office not withstanding).

      Also, there is nothing wrong with the statement, only with the speaker.

      Can I get my award for hair-splitting now?

  2. I’d say Hillary’s statement is worse, because it promotes an ethically horrible principle, on top of exposing her to charges of hypocrisy concerning her handling of allegations against her husband. Sharpton’s statement is unobjectionable in itself, it only becomes head-exploding in the context of his personal history.

  3. Nothing wrong with Sharpton’s statement, in isolation; it’s just that he’s a hypocrite. So I voted that Hillary’s is worse.

    On a side note, I once heard Sharpton speak while I was in university. I don’t remember the contents of that speech now, but he was intelligent and engaging. Too bad his talent has been wasted on a career stirring up racial resentment to enrich and empower himself.

  4. Sadly, I had to vote for for “No, Hillary’s statement is worse, because everyone knows Al is a sleaze” because Sharpton’s statement is facially defensible and only unethical in context. I had been mercifully unaware of of the Brawley hoax until now, and would have assumed Sharpton had a rare moment of ethical clarity otherwise….

  5. One of the things I dislike about polls is the way selective perception can influence the responses. A recent poll on the Green New Deal found widespread support because, in my view, the question nudged respondents toward seeing the benefits while ignoring costs.
    In this poll, some evaluated the statements; others, like me, evaluated the statements in the context of the speakers. Hillary, in the context of her attacks on her husband’s victims, Sharpton, in the Brawley context, both have no moral standing for their statements. Equally head-exploding in my mind.

  6. In the Brawley incident, Sharpton (presumably) believed Brawley’s account. He may have believed because of existing prejudices, but there’s nothing to suggest he didn’t believe her. Once a snap judgment is formed the human subconscious will bend over backwards not to admit it was wrong, so it makes perfect sense that Sharpton would have remained convinced of Brawley’s account past the point when others realized it was false.

    There are two paths I can see from that point to Sharpton’s current statements about the Smollett incident. One, he continues to believe that Brawley was truthful (I’m not digging into whether it’s proper to be so blinded by bias, but simply that he could well have convinced himself of this). In that case, it’s reasonable that he would be strongly opposed to false reports because false reports make true reports seem less believable.

    The other path, which I see as more likely, is that he has come to realize that Brawley was lying and is embarrassed about it. In that case it’s reasonable he would be strongly opposed to false reports out of personal animus- a false report bit him and made him look stupid, so now he’s extra-angry about them.

    • Bravo for an extraordinary and ethical effort to give Al the benefit of the doubt, which, as you know, he has never given to anyone when it suited his purposes. You’re a better man than I am. I don’t believe that he cared whether Brawley was telling the truth or not.

  7. I vote worse, because of the context.

    Hillary’s statement was at least consistent with the reality she lives in.

    Sharpton’s was completely at odds with the reality he lives in. When this controversy blew up, Sharpton didn’t wait for the facts to come out, he called it “the lynching of blacks” and “hate with steroids.”

    Now he says Smollett should face the music. So first, he says, in essence “believe all black people,” and now he changes his story in the face of reality.

    I suppose he should get some credit for that. But I just can’t give it to him. He perpetrated a fraud on America with the Brawley case, and would’ve been happy to perpetrate another with Smollett.

  8. Jack wrote: “Sharpton never explicitly admitted that the episode was a hoax, and never apologized.”
    Therein lies the root of Sharpton’s utter lack of credibility as far as I am concerned. In the real world, the plausibility of the message usually hangs on the trustworthiness of the messenger. No one is immune from occasionally being wrong, but being arrogant and unrepentant about being wrong is the hallmark of untrustworthiness.

    • You’re right. I completely forgot about Freddys. And I think incitement is the crime he is best at. Sharpton is the one who whispers in the ears of the weakest minds – remember the childhood game of “telephone” and what happens to negative messages there? – and encourages the strongest to take the lead. And stands apart from whatever mischief he has engendered, clean-handed, posing for the press cameras, enhancing his power.

      The worst damage, however, is the lie the Brawley girl
      (no, I don’t call 15-year-old females “women”) told and stuck to, even after her mom confessed to the scam. When “Believe All Women” came up, I nearly laughed. They were kidding, weren’t they? I remember the 50s with college girls using the word “rape” to (presumably) counter the way the boys used their demeaning, wounding words. They came into the city Clinic (where I worked part-time, later at the night desk of a Student Union, still later on crisis lines). In real cases, the student went to the college clinic automatically, but the fakers came to the anonymity of the City, to get physical “proof” of what they called “rape,” often giving the lie to their cries in a mix of braggadocio and whine, describing in graphic detail to doctors, nurses, the woman scrubbing the floor, or me at the Admissions desk their enjoyment of the sex they initiated … before it was over (too quick!, they complained) or they blacked out.

      It had to be called Rape. Otherwise, you see, “Mom will kill me if she knows I’ve been drinking” “Daddy will be so disappointed if he finds out I’ve been sleeping around.” “My boyfriend can’t find out I put out for so-and-so; he just can’t!” “I have to be a virgin when I’m married, don’t I?” “If I admit we’ve been having sex for ages, everyone will think I’m easy.” “Boys are expected to act like that, aren’t they? They’ll just laugh it off. No pro-blem-oh” So the rape goes on the Clinic books but doesn’t even get to the police for two reasons, first because the exam doesn’t back up her claim, and second because the girl’s parents or she, personally, get paid off and the case – such as it was – is closed for lucky Jane Doe #547.

      Too often, the lie rises sooner or later to the attention of the administration and the boy is expelled for what? for being guilty of being accused of rape. His further education is questionable, his friends, his and his family’s dreams for his future, all gone. The girl has, at worst, transferred to “do her thing” at another school – she knows how to cover herself now, how to threaten to cry Rape and how to blackmail, emotionally or otherwise. She will cheat on her husband(s) later on, and when #MeToo comes along, make way on the bandwagon, gals — she’s a-leapin’ aboard haulin’ along a Rape lie grown big as Webster’s Unabridged!.

      I’ve often wondered about the man that boy becomes: How he is going to feel about sex and about women now?

        • I like better the Shylock quote at the start of that article, “But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs.”.
          My fear, however is that the unrelenting attacks of the left against the First and Second Amendments (and even thought, itself), and other efforts at uber-control of society may eventually push large segments to a breaking point where the opposition (especially the 2nd A people, maybe even the military) make that quote a harsh reality.

          • “But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs.”

            This is where common Americans are being pushed. They are whatever -ist or -phobe or just plain white, and therefore evil per se

            It is a short hop from there to ‘might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.’ If they are going to condemn us regardless, might as well fight back.

  9. Hillary Clinton was worse.

    I still remember those arguments on Usenet, originating from her and her surrogates.

    “It’s just about sex”

    “It’s a private matter.”

    “Everybody does it”

    “Ken Starr is a panty sniffer.”

    “She came onto him”

    “Gentlemen are supposed to lie about sex.”

    These arguments were what incited you to create the Ethics Scoreboard.

    the worst thing was that these arguments worked. they corrupted the feminist establishment. They set back, by a few decades, the cause of creating a cultural consensus against sexual harassment.

    And it was the public’s affirmation of these arguments that made Donald J. Trump’s candidacy conceivable, let alone possible.

  10. On the subject of Race Hustling, Kamala Harris’s father Donald:

    “My dear departed grandmothers, as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and IN THE PURSUIT OF IDENTITY POLITICS.” (bolds/caps mine)

    • Hilarious. I guess he did divorce his wife who is Harris’s mother, didn’t he? Well, she can always fall back on being Indian. If she can’t be Jamaican, African sort of American, er Caribbean, er whatever. She’s still “of color.” So she’s still got that going for her.

      Query: Why do the fathers in these mixed race celebrity marriages so often disappear? And then the kids gladly claim the heritage of the person who’s MIA?

  11. Greetings from a first time poster…It isn’t just Sharpton’s past that is so galling about this; it’s the timing. Had Sharpton shown this support for blind justice in the immediate aftermath of the accusation, rather than engage in his usual race baiting conclusion jumping, it would have been responsible, even commendable, no matter his past. Of course, that sort of integrity is beyond him. For him to pose as the voice of reason now that the hoax is obvious to all but the most gullible is, as Jack said, nothing but the signalling of virtue that he does not have. You don’t get credit for taking the high road when it is the only road left.

  12. I don’t know…this feels like getting angry at the kids who eat paint chips.
    He’s gonna eat those paint chips, the Salmon are going to swim upstream, and Al Sharpton is gonna race-hustle.

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