Empire and network Fox are standing by Jussie Smollett in the wake of an unconfirmed rumor suggesting the actor staged the alleged attack against him because he was going to be written off the TV show.
Jussie Smollett has played Jamal Lyon, middle son in the Lyon family, since Empire Season 1 in 2015. 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment issued a statement make it clear the network is standing by Smollett (via Deadline):
Empire co-creator Danny Strong also addressed the rumor, via Twitter:
The Empire Writers account also weighed in on Twitter, since the rumor had suggested they were the ones planning to write off the character of Jamal Lyon:
ABC 7 Chicago had reported that police were investigating whether Jussie Smollett staged the January 29 attack with help of two other men.
Anthony Guglielmi, Chief Communications Officer for the Chicago Police, responded by saying any media reports about the Empire incident being a hoax were unconfirmed by case detectives. He said they contacted ABC 7 to state on the record that they had "no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate."
The Chicago Police rep clarified that detectives had identified the people of interest in the area of the alleged attack, but those people weren't considered suspects at this point. They were just being questioned by detectives. Since the investigation is ongoing, he added this note:
Jussie Smollett said he was attacked on January 29 in Chicago. He said two men in ski masks addressed him with racist and homophobic slurs, then physically attacked him by pouring liquid on him and putting a noose around his neck.
Shortly after the alleged hate crime, Empire star Taraji P. Henson revealed her message for Jussie Smollett, saying she just told him to walk his truth. The Fox and Empire team issued a statement of support. Production briefly shut down, but because of weather, not this incident.
Empire is currently in the middle of airing Season 5. The huge midseason finale, Episode 9, aired in December 2018. Season 5 is scheduled to return March 13 on Fox, and the season will reportedly have 18 episodes in total. Keep up with all the relevant dates in our handy 2019 midseason premiere calendar.
Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Thank you for signing up to CinemaBlend. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.