Jussie Smollett Will NOT Be Fired From Empire, Producers Claim
Millions have been left confused and outraged by reports that Empire star Jussie Smollett staged an attack, which he then reported as a racist and homophobic hate crime perpetrated by two Trump-supporting white men.
While no charges have been filed against the actor yet, his case is set to go before a grand jury as early as this week.
Smollett is clearly gearing up for a legal battle, and he’s reportedly hired famed defense attorney Mark Geragos, who’s apparently planning to argue that Smollett is being framed by the Chicago Police Department.
Needless to say, Smollett’s got a hard road ahead of him.
If the allegations against him prove to be accurate, then the best he can hope for is that he’ll lose his career but retain his freedom.
The worst-case scenario for the actor is that he’ll be sent to prison.
As new facts emerged about the case, Smollett lost support from several high-profile defenders — but it seems he still has some powerful VIPs in his corner.
Earlier this week it was reported that Smollett would be fired from Empire.
On Tuesday, those reports were amended, and sources close to the show revealed that Smollett’s role on the show has been dramatically reduced for the season’s final two episodes with the goal of eventually cutting him loose.
Today, however, Fox issued a statement revealing that Smollett has not been fired and neither the network nor the producers of Empire have any intention of firing him anytime soon.
“Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show,” the statement reads.
This is surprising news for a number of reasons.
With the show’s ratings already declining over the past two seasons, the Smollett scandal could be the nail in the coffin for Empire.
While it makes sense that producers would wait until the police investigation to be completed before they would make a final decision on Smollett’s future, it’s puzzling that they would issue any statement at all about his role on the show.
We know that for the show’s second-to-last episode of the season, Smollett’s role has been reduced from nine scenes to four.
He was also scheduled to perform a song that has now been excised entirely.
The move represented a subtle compromise that would allow producers the option to gradually write Smollett out of the series.
Today’s announcement is something of a bold move, as it might be interpreted by some as a sign that Smollett has his boss’ wholesale support.