‘Empire’ Writers Cheer Dropped Charges Against Jussie Smollett

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
March 26, 2019US News
‘Empire’ Writers Cheer Dropped Charges Against Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett (second from left) appears in an episode of "Empire" with (from left to right) Bryshere Gray, Taraji Henson, and Terrence Howard. (Chuck Hodes/FOX via AP)

The writers of “Empire” cheered after the 16 felony counts against Jussie Smollett, an actor on the show, were dropped on March 26.

Fox, which airs the series “Empire,” has not responded to the update, but the official Empire Writers Twitter account didn’t hesitate celebrating the news.

The account posted a picture showing a television broadcasting CNN, with a picture of Smollett and a chyron saying: “prosecutors drop all charges against actor Jussie Smollett.”

“See y’all Wednesday,” the writers said, adding a winking emoji.

In a statement, Twentieth Century Fox Television, which airs the show, added: “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”

Many of the people involved with the show defended Smollett, even after he was arrested for allegedly orchestrating the supposed hate crime attack against himself.

But his arrest on Feb. 21 prompted Fox executives to say the studio was “evaluating the situation and considering our options.”

The studio said that Smollett would not be written off the show, but the next day executives said his character Jamal Lyon would be removed from multiple episodes.

The cast of TV show Empire
(L-R) Actors Jussie Smollett, Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Co-Creator/Writer/Executive Producer Lee Daniels, and Executive Producers Sanaa Hamri and Ilene Chaiken of ‘Empire’ speak onstage during the FOX portion of the 2017 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Aug. 8, 2017. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

“The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us. Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out,” Lee Daniels and six other executive producers said in a joint statement released by Twentieth Century Fox Television.

“We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season,” they added.

When promotional pictures were released earlier in March for the return of “Empire,” zero of the 38 photographs showed Jamal Lyons, reported The Wrap.

The pictures showed actors and actresses from the first three episodes of season 5 that were set to air after a midseason break. All the other main stars in the series appeared in at least five of the pictures.

Actor Smiles

Smollett was smiling as he entered the courthouse and walked towards the courtroom prior to the charges being dropped.

“First time we’ve seen Jussie Smollett smiling as he heads into the courtroom,” noted Tia Ewing, a Fox 32 reporter, on Twitter.

Cameras weren’t allowed inside the courtroom itself.

Speaking to reporters at the courthouse in Cook County, Smollett told reporters: “I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. … This has been an incredibly difficult time, honestly one of the worst of my entire life.”

He added, “I would like to thank the state of Illinois for attempting to do what’s right.”

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