FOX, the network that airs ‘Empire’, says in a statement that Jussie Smollett is NOT being written off the show, despite reports that he allegedly staged his own hate crime attack.
UPDATE (3/26/19), 11:35 AM EST: The charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett — over allegedly staging a racial attack against himself in Chicago on January 29 — have all been dropped, his Chicago-based attorney Ronald Safer confirms to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television issued the following statement (on March 26, 2019 at 1:15 PM EST) in wake of this development: “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
FOX has doubled down on their assertion that Jussie Smollett will not be written off of Empire after doubts emerged about his attack in Chicago. “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 network said in a statement. Their statement comes as brothers brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, the suspects in the alleged hate crime against Jussie on January 29, were set to testify before a grand jury in Chicago.
There have been multiple reports that Jussie allegedly staged the vicious attack with the brothers; one was reportedly once an extra on Empire. The actor claimed that during his alleged attack, two men yelled homophobic slurs, put a noose around his neck, and poured bleach on him. He was able to bring himself to a local hospital, and has since recovered. Unnamed sources told ABC 7 in Chicago that the attack was staged to bring more attention to Jussie’s Empire character after he found out he was allegedly being written off. Jussie’s rep told our sister site, Variety, that these were “ridiculous rumors.”
Jussie’s case is still under investigation by Chicago police, and while he had an incredible outpouring of support by his Empire cast members, celebrities, politicians, and even President Donald Trump, it’s wavering. Cardi B said she was “disappointed” in him… and that he f**ked up Black History Month. She went on Instagram Live to slam the actor, saying, “Until he says out of his mouth that it was fake and this s–t was staged, I don’t want to completely blame him because, you know … police in Chicago are racist, so they might probably try to frame him and make him look like he’s a liar.”