How Jussie Smollett’s five gestures ripped apart Empire star's elaborate hate crime hoax, say body language experts | The SunJuly 16, 2022
THESE are the five gestures Empire star Jussie Smollett gave away that ripped apart his elaborate hate crime hoax, say body language experts.
They claim to have solid proof the disgraced Hollywood actor lied through his teeth on multiple occasions.
They poured through a trove of interviews featuring fallen star and pinpointed the moments he lied to the camera.
The 40-year-old celeb made headlines in 2019 when he claimed two masked men beat him and left a noose around his head before shouting " this is MAGA country" near his Chicago.
The alleged assault made Smollett known as the victim of white supremacy hate in Donald Trump's America.
But when police began investigating the allegations, they soon discovered the actor had paid two associates to stage the attack in a bid to help him progress his career.
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Smollett was eventually charged with lying to police but struck a plea deal with prosecutors that saw him walk free.
Months later, cops would reopen the case and provided evidence that led to the Mighty Ducks actor being convicted of lying to police and causing disorderly conduct.
Now, a crack team of behavioural, linguistics and psychology experts reveal the tell-tale signs that expose Smollett – who faced 150 days behind bars – as a liar in a new Discovery+ documentary called Jussie Smollett: A Faking It Special.
AT EASE WITH NOOSE
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Captured on camera, Smollett’s behaviour was suspicious from the outset.
In the police bodycam footage filmed in the immediate aftermath of the apparent attack – with a noose still visible around his neck – Smollett plays the role of the victim.
But Smollett’s speech gave away tiny clues to his deception, as Professor Archer points out.
"The invitation to take it [the noose] off comes from the police officer, and Jussie Smollett’s response is ‘yeah, I do,’" she explains.
"This is a long time to keep something on that is going to be extremely offensive to anybody, let alone somebody of Jussie Smollett’s ethnicity."
For Forensic Psychologist Kerry Daynes, Smollett’s behaviour is strangely relaxed for someone who has just been attacked.
"He seems oddly at ease with this noose," she says.
"I can’t think of something that would be more repulsive to a black man than this rope around his neck, you’d naturally just want to get it off you."
TONE OF SPEECH
Body language expert Dr Cliff Lansley said Smollett made four alarming gestures within three seconds during an Instagram interview that strongly suggested he was trying to deceive his audience.
The Alien: Covenant star told US author Marc Lamont Hill that he "would have never done this", referring to the fabrication of the attack, during the Instagram Live chat.
But Dr Lansley said those three seconds of footage gave Smollett away.
"There is some severity with his brows down. He's not angry here. He's trying to make a strong point, but while he's trying to make that strong point, what's countering that is his body language," he said.
The actors makes forceful statements and urges viewers to believe such an act of fabrication was beyond him.
"I wouldn't do anything like this…. I am a black man, same-gender loving, prideful – to a fault – man who leads with his blackness. The last thing I want to do is be portrayed as a victim".
That's in line with other footage of Smollett describing what happened that night.
Looking back at the recording, linguistics professor Dawn Archer said: "We’ve got a one minute fifty-six second answer, and within that we get ‘and then’ five times and ‘so’ five times. So he also uses and as a chronological sequencing device 12 times.
"Research points out that deceptive accounts tend to be more chronological, whereas truthful jump about a little bit more in time."
Dr Lansley also points to Smollett body language as another tell-tale give away that the actor was lying.
"If you look at his shoulders, we've got a double-sided shoulder shrug here. So, the shoulders are lifting probably less than a centimetre," he said.
"To its full extent, a shoulder shrug means 'I have no confidence in what I'm saying right now'.
"And when we see a partial gesture – which is little movements of one or both shoulders – that contradicts the affirmative claim he's trying to make here.
"He might be raising his voice but we can see underneath that he's giving away the fact that his no confidence in the statement that he wouldn't do anything like that."
Dr Lansley said that while Smollett pleaded with his fans to believe him, he made a grave error in the process.
"If you have a look here, you also have a little micro headshake 'no'," the body language expert said.
"The camera is moving a little bit but if you isolate this camera and control that, then the tip of the nose at this point is moving left and right.
"You can see that by looking at his right ear, which disappears and comes back, and the camera's not moving sideward.
"So, headshake 'no', shoulder shrugs and trying to use a strong tone to convince us are a cluster of three indicators which make this claim highly suspect."
That follows a similar observation Dr Lansley made of Smollett's statement denying any wrongdoing in which he claimed: "I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I have been accused of".
Dr Lansley highlights features in Smollett’s movements that continue to catch him in a lie.
"We’ve got this big head shake early on when he’s saying, ‘I would not be my mother’s son.’ So, the headshake prolongs after the statement and it’s quite big, left to right as you’ll see,” he said.
"And this is what people do when they’re trying to convince you."
As well as the headshake, tiny movements on Smollett’s lips also indicate deception.
"If we look at the end of the statement, we also see a lip press. Now, we see lip presses as an alternative to putting your finger on your lips; it’s a self-hushing gesture," he explained.
"So, why does he want to control the words he’s using? Because this is a crucial statement he’s making, and he’s being careful not to say too much."
And the words Smollett does use, as the doctor adds, do nothing other than to underline this deception.
"So, we’re hearing conditional words: ‘I wouldn’t do that’ – I did it, but what, I wouldn’t do it again? The language is loose," he said.
"So, he’s fudging, he’s hedging around the topic rather than going ‘I didn’t do this.’ Thou protests too much. You’re trying too hard."
Professor Archer said another sign Smollett was trying to cover his tracks is through disassociation.
"He's not wanting to disassociate himself with being the victim," she explained gleaning over the Instagram Live interview.
"What he seems to be doing here is a level of impression management, which could work both ways.
"He hates the word victim, because he doesn't want to be associated with it because he's already told us he's a proud man.
"But it also works the other way. He's subconsciously distancing himself from being the victim because he wasn't."
Professor Archer points to this not being the first time Smollett has done this.
In an ABC News interview two weeks after the alleged attack, Smollett gave a detail account in which he explained why he didn't immediately report the incident to police.
Commenting on that clip, the prof said: "The other thing that gets interesting during this account is we get pronoun omission at the point we start to talk about the actual attack.
"This is the point at which he is actually talking about the physical attack.
"He doesn’t tell us about the attacker, it’s ‘…punches me’ not ‘the attacker punches me’ or ‘he punches me.’ It kind of hides him, doesn’t it? He’s hidden away in all of this. And that is a form of distancing."
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