Jussie Smollet’s legal troubles have affected his character on the FOX drama Empire. Rumors have persisted that the actor will be fired from the hit series, but the latest claim by co-star Taraji P. Henson suggests otherwise.
Henson, who plays the mother of Smollett’s character, told Us Weekly that he will indeed be back for the next season. “Yes, I haven’t heard anything else,” she said. “I talk to Jussie all the time, and he’s doing well. We’re all doing well. The show is doing well. We’re on hiatus right now. The writers are trying to figure out what the next season is going to look like, what our storyline is going to be. They’re trying to drum up some really good juicy stuff for you guys.”
‘Empire’ Star Taraji P. Henson Says That Smollett Will Not Be Fired
After legal charges against Smollett were dropped on March 26, 20th Century Fox Television and the FOX Network issued a statement. “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed,” they wrote. The statement was notably more optimistic than the one previously issued by showrunner Lee Daniels.
“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,” Daniels wrote. “While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out. 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.”
Showrunner Lee Daniels Has Voiced His Support for Smollett
According to TV Line, Daniels and the Empire staff wrote Smollett’s character out of the final episodes of the season, and considered recasting him with a different actor. There has been no mention of a recasting since Smollett was cleared, however. Daniels got on Instagram after the court ruling was issued, and admitted that things had been emotionally taxing.
“Me and my cast have experienced pain and anger and sadness and frustration and really don’t know how to deal with it,” he said. “Everything has happened — what you are seeing tonight — prior to the incident. And this is not what the show was made for. The show was made to bring America together to talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets.”