'Empire' cast pens support in letter insisting Jussie Smollett return to the Fox drama
Wednesday night's episode of 'Empire' was reportedly the last time Jussie Smollett appeared on this season, but his co-stars are not ready to give up on him. Following the January 29 attacks, where the actor alleged he was cornered by two offenders who yelled racial slurs at him and then poured an unknown chemical substance on him, Smollett's place in 'Empire' has been doubtful.
However, Smollett faced his own share of accusations when the Chicago police dropped the charges against the "persons of interest" and Smollett faced accusations of orchestrating the attack on himself. He was named an accused on the apparent staged attack, but was supported by his family who mentioned in a statement, saying, “To be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime.”
All charges against the actor were dropped on March 26 by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. It was said the decision was made after reviewing all of the facts in light of Smollett’s forfeiture of his $10,000 bond. “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case,” the state’s attorney’s office said in a statement, “including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community, and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.”
Fortunately, now, 'Empire' co-creator Lee Daniels has declared that the actors future in the show is under discussion. Several celebrities and leaders have come to the forefront to offer their support to Smollett, and in a penned letter obtained by E!, it is revealed that Taraji P.Henson and Terrence Howard, along with Daniels have spoken up for the 36-year-old.
Several other producers of the show have placed their demand on Fox and Disney to make Smollett an integral part of the show. Drawing influences from the show itself, 'Empire' stars maintained the importance of family and the need to stick together, indicating their support for Smollett. According to Deadline, the letter reads as, "Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of Empire."
The letter, which was sent to Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, DisneyTV Studios and ABC Entertainment chair Dana Walden, Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn, Daniels, and 'Empire' co-creator Danny Strong, further read, "Throughout Empire’s five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character. He is kind. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity. He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped."
Pointing out the cultural crisis, the letter mentioned, "It’s clearer every day that the extreme political climate in our country has only made our system of justice and the court of public opinion more unjust.” Smollett was already written off the two final episodes, and the situation is even more complicated since Disney had acquired several Fox assets including 'Empire', worth $71.3 billion, which basically now means the show is being run by two different companies with their own separate visions.
The letter, however, insists, "A family is there for us in good times and bad. It can cut through the noise and confusion to understand that there is a person in the center of all this who deserves nothing more than to move forward with his life. We understand that this show is a business. And that business matters to us as well. We are confident our fans will welcome our ‘Jamal’ back into the Empire family as enthusiastically as we will."