Nolte: ‘Empire’ Cast Wants ‘Innocent,’ ‘Honest’ Jussie Smollett Back on the Show

Fox Broadcasting Co.
Fox Broadcasting Co.

The cast of Empire are hoping to gaslight Americans into believing Jussie Smollett is “innocent” and “honest”so that he can be reinstated on the hit show.

Along with three others, the top-line stars of the show, Terrence Howard, Taraji P Henson, and Gabourey Sidibe wrote a lengthy letter to Fox TV/Disney executives pleading Smollett’s case:

Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of Empire. …

Throughout Empire’s five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character. He is kind. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity. He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped.

It’s clearer every day that the extreme political climate in our country has only made our system of justice and the court of public opinion more unjust.

Although Empire has not yet been renewed for a sixth season, the expectations are that it will be, and that the sixth season will be the final season.

Jussie Smollett appeared throughout most of season five because most of that season had already been shot when his career — through a self-inflicted wound — collapsed in on him.

In late January, Smollett told police — and the world — he was the victim of a hate crime perpetrated by two masked men wearing hats bearing President Trump’s famous campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” The 36-year-old, who is black and gay, said the men hurled racist and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on his black skin, wrapped a noose around his neck, and shouted, “This is MAGA country!”

After a long investigation by the Chicago police, Ola and Abel Osundairo, two brothers, both of them black,  eventually confessed to the crime but claimed Smollett paid them to attack him as a publicity stunt. Based on the evidence, a grand jury later indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts connected to filing a false police report.

Cook County’s corrupt and conflicted State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, shocked everyone the following month when she dropped all charges against Smollett and allowed him to proclaim his innocence afterwards. Like Smollett, Foxx has ties to Barack Obama’s shady Chicago world.

Smollett’s problems, however, are far from over. The City of Chicago is suing him for the cost of the investigation, some $130,000, and just last week the Osundairo brothers filed a defamation suit against Smollett’s attorneys Mark Geragos and Tina Glandianin because they continue to accuse the brothers of committing a hate crime.

You see, Jussie Smollett is in a bind. At this point, because the Osundairo brothers confessed, he can only claim that two black men he was friends with decided — out of the blue —  to commit a hate crime against him and somehow knew, without his cooperation, he would go out for fast food in the middle of a subzero Chicago night.

Anyway, Smollett’s status with Empire is up in the air. He was written out of the final two or three season five episodes before his privilege got the charges dropped. The question for Fox/Disney executives now is what effect will Smollett’s presence have on the show. Smollett’s castmates might see him as “honest” and “innocent,” but no one else does and the scandal did nothing but bottom out the once-popular show’s ratings.

Then there’s the fact that this is an ongoing scandal. It will take at least a year to shoot and air a season six and during that time the scandal will flare up again and again as the lawsuits progress.

The good news for Fox/Disney is that the letter from the cast is not a demand. No one is threatening to walk away from the show if Smollett is fired.


Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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