Revelations surrounding the accusations of TV star Jussie Smollett could have a negative ripple effect nationwide, some worry, dissuading real victims of hate crimes to come forward.
"They may end up feeling that their story will be ignored because of the circumstances behind this case,” said Rafael McDonnell with the Resource Center in Dallas, a LGBTQ Non-Profit.
On Thursday the head of the Chicago Police Department called Smollett’s alleged staging of the attack “shameful”.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"To insinuate and stage a hate crime of that nature when he knew that as a celebrity it would get a lot of attention is just despicable," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.
Investigators say they now have sufficient evidence to prove Smollett paid two men to carry out the attack, apparently because he was upset over his salary, Johnson said.
"He has to be accountable for what he did, he orchestrated this.”
Since the story first broke it has gained national and international traction. Now many hope it will not prevent real victims of hate crimes from getting the help they need.
"The worst thing is to have really had something happen to you and not be believed," Radio Host Claudia Jordan said.