Jussie Smolllett’s ‘Empire’ Co-Stars Don’t Think His Return Will Hurt Ratings, Pushing For Him To Return
Jussie Smollett might be facing lots of backlash in the media, but his co-stars of Fox’s hit series Empire are said to be standing by his side. Smollett, who is accused of filing a false police report with alleged fake allegations that he was the victim of a homophobic and racist hate crime in Chicago, is at risk of being kicked off the show for good. After reports swirled that his return for the upcoming sixth season still wasn’t solidified, his fellow cast members, including stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard jumped to his defense. Word is they’re in contact with the series and network executives in hopes of talking them into allowing Smollett to return.
While the ratings took a dive amid Smollett’s drama, they are reportedly convinced his role on season six will cause ratings to drop. His cast members also believe that his character, Jamal Lyon, is vital to the series. This part could be true as Jamal and his boyfriend tied the knot on the fifth season finale, making it the first time two black men wed on primetime television.
Meanwhile, his co-stars have already written a lengthy letter to the show’s co-creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong and other leaders in an attempt to get Smollett back.
“Dear Charlie, Dana, Michael, Lee, Danny, Francie, Brian, Sanaa, Dennis, and Brett,
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.
We understand the past months have been difficult to process—sometimes the headlines brought more confusion than clarity, yet we now have a conclusion to this ordeal. 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. We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.
Jussie has shown us on and off the set who he really is as a leader. In addition to being a caring friend and cast member who treats every crew member with love and respect, he has spent time with our families and individually supported each of us. These recent and detailed letters from The Black AIDS Institute, the Rainbow Push Coalition and the City Lights Orchestra shine a light on his commitment to true community service. Just a few months ago, Jussie partnered with the Trevor Project to provide support to their volunteer program that allows LGBTQ youth in crisis access to vital counseling services. Prior to that, he gave every cent from his sold out world tour to numerous charities. He has adopted a school in Chicago, taught songwriting to incarcerated youth at the Cook County Jail last year and bought the family of Kayden Kinckle, a six-year-old, double amputee, a wheelchair accessible van due to his school district not having a wheelchair accessible school bus. He has traveled to South Africa for service as well as to Jamaica to quietly meet about the safety of LGBTQ youth. This was all done without posturing, the need for attention or even discussion.
This is the Jussie we know.
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.
It is why now, more than ever, we must stand together as a family. 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.
That is why we write today to ask you to keep Jussie on the cast so that we can all put this behind us and move forward. Thank you for taking time to hear us. It’s our hope that together we will move into our sixth season as the entire Empire family should.
Taraji P Henson
Bryshere Y. Gray
Nicole Ari Parker”
While Smollett is signed on for season six, rumor has it the execs don’t plan on bringing him back yet. It could be because he’s still facing a lawsuit from the city of Chicago, that wants him to pay for the investigation into his claims he was attacked .