Jussie Smollett didn't think he was getting paid enough for acting in "Empire."
The poor guy was only getting $20,000 per episode - pocket change in episodic TV land - and he's been a regular character on the popular Fox dramatic series since 2015.
He apparently thought that if he got a big splash of national publicity, Fox would have to pay him more.
So last month the gay black former child actor and proud Trump hater played the racist card, the homophobic card and the "I hate Trump" card - all at once.
As the entire country has since found out, Smollett staged a hate crime on the cold streets of Chicago starring himself as the victim.
To make sure his attack was sympathetically covered by the media, he told police he was beaten up by two racist, homophobic supporters of Donald Trump in red MAGA hats who, for extra measure, poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.
To everyone not working in the liberal media or for the Democrat Party, Smollett's story stunk to high heaven from the get-go.
It was too politically perfect to be true, full of implausible holes and sounded like it was ripped from the script of a bad TV cop show.
But Don Lemon of CNN, Robin Roberts of ABC and the professional Trump-haters on "Morning Joe" and elsewhere swallowed Smollett's phony story hook, line and sinker.
To them, there is nothing too evil or disgusting that the bigoted supporters of Donald Trump wouldn't do.
Therefore, Smollett's outlandish tale didn't need to be questioned, checked out by the liberal media or even confirmed by police.
It fit their anti-Trump narrative perfectly, so what he claimed happened was automatically true and automatically to be believed.
Thanks to the work of Chicago police, however, we now know Smollett paid two friends $3,500 to help him stage a hate crime because he allegedly was unhappy with his salary.
At a press conference Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said it right: Smollett "took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career. I'm left hanging my head and asking why."
Why? Because Smollett is a troubled egomaniac and had every reason to believe he could get away with it.
He knew his pal Lemon, Hollywood celebrities and left-wing Democrats like Cory Booker would immediately fall for his tale and use it to "prove" their claim that Donald Trump has created a more racist and more homophobic America.
Chicago Police Supt. Johnson was terrific. He blasted the celebrities, media people and presidential candidates for giving Smollett's "phony attack" so much favorable national publicity.
But where is the outrage of the black community? Where is the outrage of the LGBTQ community?
They are the ones who should be most offended by Smollett's incredibly inept scheme to become a celebrity victim, because his stunt has diminished the credibility of real hate crimes in the future.
Smollett smeared Trump's supporters as racists and bigots. He also smeared the ordinary people of Chicago and the U.S.
In the long run his hate hoax and bald-faced lying afterwards have done a public service he never dreamed it would.
It exposed the fake news media for what they are to the whole country and proved how deep and wide the Trump derangement syndrome is in the media and in Hollywood.
Smollett got the attention he craved, but his hoax backfired on him. His scenes in the final episodes of "Empire" reportedly have been drastically cut back.
He could end up in jail for three years for filing a false police report, but in the long run he'll be excused or forgiven by Hollywood and the liberal media because he's such a devout Trump hater.
In fact, it won't surprise me if his progressive friends in La-La Land give him a special Oscar Sunday night for the acting job he did in his dishonest interview with Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America."
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "Lessons My Father Taught Me: The Strength, Integrity, and Faith of Ronald Reagan." He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.