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New Bubba Wallace Documentary Shows the Media Learned Nothing From Jussie Smollett Fiasco

Footage from a new ESPN documentary suggested NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace had been the target of racially motivated vandalism, despite the thorough debunking of the hate crime narrative last year.

SO WHAT

The media should’ve been cowed by the end result of the Jussie Smollett case.

THE VIDEO

ESPN on Tuesday tweeted out a three-minute clip, which centered on Wallace’s claims in June 2020 that a “noose” had been hung in his garage at Talladega Superspeedway.

“Last year, a noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s stall at Talladega Superspeedway. The next day, the NASCAR community stood with him in unity,” ESPN said in a tweet promoting “Fistful of Steel: The Rise of Bubba Wallace,” which premiered Tuesday night.

  • The video showed fellow NASCAR drivers and personalities expressing support for Wallace and waxing poetic about the “noose” controversy, which took place shortly after the May 2020 death of George Floyd sparked a nationwide racial reckoning.
  • “I knew at that moment, they loved him for the person that he is, not because of skin color or anything like that,” Desiree Wallace, the driver’s mother, said while recalling the show of solidarity from fellow competitors at a race the day after the “noose” was found.
  • At one point during “Fistful of Steel,” Wallace, the only black driver in NASCAR’s top circuit, says he “could have been another George Floyd incident” while recounting an anecdote from earlier in his life.

JUST ONE PROBLEM

ESPN’s tweet and the video clip, which has been viewed more than 1 million times, failed to mention the FBI investigation that determined in late June 2020 that Wallace was not the subject of a hate crime.

“The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall,” NASCAR said in a statement at the time. “This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment.”

  • In “Fistful of Steel,” Wallace revealed that he believes the FBI got it wrong.
  • “Look at the picture, what’s it look like to you? Is that a noose to you?” Wallace told his interviewer in the documentary. “You tie your shoes like that?”
  • “It’s so sad that people don’t want to take the time to read the facts, and just make a judgment off of B.S.,” he added.

On Twitter, some commenters compared Wallace to Jussie Smollett, who was found guilty last week of falsely reporting a hate crime, after he claimed in January of 2019 that he was attacked by racist and homphobic Donald Trump supporters.

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