While Empire actor Jussie Smollett may still have the support of his castmates amid allegations that he staged a bigoted assault on himself, some crew members of the hit Fox television program are said to have been left “disgusted” by the saga.
“There’s a huge divide on the set with most of the cast that are broadly supporting him, but members of the crew are a bit more critical of Jussie,” said New York Post Page Six senior reporter Carlos Greer. “There was the well-wishes card that went out for Jussie Smollett and people told us that a lot of people were disgusted. They didn’t want to sign it, particularly the hair and make-up people and the crew. But, the cast, however, have been supportive of Jussie, and they signed it.”
Last month, Empire star Terrence Howard, expressed support for Smollett, sharing a video to Instagram of the embattled actor hold a baby with the caption: “All your lil homies got you…We love the hell outta you.”
The Post’s report comes as Smollett is expected at a Chicago hearing to discuss whether cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during his disorderly conduct case.
A spokeswoman for Smollett’s attorneys says the actor is expected to attend Tuesday’s hearing in Cook County criminal court.
A grand jury indicted Smollett last week on 16 felony counts accusing him of lying to the police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two masked men in downtown Chicago.
Police allege that Smollett, who is black and gay, staged the January 29 attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career. Smollett, who reportedly makes $100,000 per episode, was cut from the season’s final two episodes. He is free on bond and has another hearing scheduled for Thursday.
Smollett’s attorneys have called the charges “prosecutorial overkill” and say the actor maintains his innocence.
Smollett’s legal troubles may not begin and end with this one indictment. Days before the Jan. 29 incident, a letter threatening Smollett was sent to the studio where the television show is filmed — a letter Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson told reporters the day Smollett appeared in court that the actor had actually sent.
The FBI, which is investigating that letter, has declined to comment on the investigation. However, if Smollett did talk to the FBI, depending on what he said, he could be in more legal trouble.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.