Most of us, I suspect, are at least half-convinced that the alleged attack upon Empire costar Jussie Smollett was performed and not real. Given the latest reports there doesn’t seem to be any way to dodge this tentative conclusion.

Smollett apparently paid Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo to “attack” him on 1.29 in the Streeterville section of Chicago, “according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the investigation.”

If things pan out as they seem to be panning out, this episode obviously indicates a worrisome pathology and a reckless streak. Not to mention a lack of street smarts.

And yet no one was physically harmed and no real felonies were committed. It was basically a self-produced staging of live political theatre.

My prevailing reaction is one of sympathy for the poor guy. To go to all this trouble and obviously risk his whole career…words fail. But I don’t believe in capital punishment. I believe in therapy and potential probation and temporary exile (i.e., Moses in the desert) and second chances.

Meanwhile Sen. Kamala Harris has done a little backtracking: