EXCLUSIVE: Empire Co-creator Lee Daniels said on Wednesday at a morning show in New York that Jussie Smollett's fate on Fox's hit was "under discussion", but Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard and the rest of the actors series have already made their decision.
"Together we form a united front with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend, be brought back for our sixth season of Empire, "The Academy Award nominees and the rest of the fictional Lyon clan wrote in a letter dated April 19 from Deadline, which was sent to Fox Entertainment General Manager Charlie Collier, Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment President. , Dana Walden, Fox Entertainment President, Michael Thorn, Daniels, Empire co-creator Danny Strong and various executive producers of the series. (Read the full letter below.)
Jussie Smollett's lawyers sued by so-called attacking brother
Reiterating the support and intentions expressed briefly by Henson on April 4 View, the correspondence signed by Bryshere Gray Y., Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe and Nicole Ari Parker, among others, adds: "We understand that the previous months have been difficult to deal with. Sometimes the titles have brought more confusion than clarity, but now we have a conclusion to this test. "
Continuing to insist on his innocence, Smollett, who plays the second son of Jamal Lyon Empire, On March 26, 16 charges of forgiveness were withdrawn. Penalized on January 29, he was reportedly sentenced to prison for allegedly launching a racist and homophobic attack. He lost a $ 10,000 bond and was sentenced to 20 hours of public works.
I hear that the letter inked by the keys was written partly by people close to Smollett. The episode "Never Doubt I Love" tonight EmpireThe marriage between Jamal and Kai (Toby Onwumere) is the last Smollett will appear this season. We do not know if it will be the last time. Empire fans never see it.
"All along Empire & # 39;Over the past five seasons with Jussie and observing his behavior throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not only the character Jussie describes, but also to really know Jussie's personal character, "reads in the letter. "He's nice. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all, full of integrity. "
"He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty, criminal proceedings against him having been dropped," he said. "We are confident in the assurance of his lawyer that the case has been dismissed because it would not have prevailed."
Then they go to politics: "It is becoming increasingly clear every day that the extreme political climate in our country has only made our justice system and the court of public opinion more unfair."
Fox and Disney TV Studios did not comment on the distribution letter when they were contacted by Deadline.
Already written on the last two episodes of the fifth season of the series due to early uncertainty about its legal status and public reaction, Smollett's option for the series is open at the end of June. According to sources, a sixth season of Empire It's almost a certainty, Fox actually until next month to officially decide if she wants to bring back the series. In this context, a number of high-level meetings have taken place in recent weeks, as Collier and other leaders were trying to find a consensual solution with the MPs about the future of Smollett.
The situation became all the more complex as Disney 's acquisition of $ 71.3 billion of Fox' s assets, such as Empire producers of 20th Century Fox TV, and the makers of Empire and the network that broadcasts the program is owned by two distinct companies, each with its own program and emotions about the Smollett affair.
The possible division is evoked in the letter.
"That's why now, more than ever, we have to unite as a family," write Henson, Howard and the other members of the group.
"A family is there for us in good and bad times. It can cut the noise and confusion to understand that there is at the center of it all a person who deserves nothing more than to advance in life. We understand that this show is a business. And this business counts for us too. We are confident that our fans will welcome our "Jamal" to the country. Empire family as enthusiastic as we will do it.
"That's why we are writing today to ask you to keep Jussie in the cast so we can all put this behind us and go ahead." Thank you for taking the time to hear us. It is our hope that together we begin our sixth season as the whole Empire family should. "
This overall effort to move forward has not been facilitated by the spiral of the situation in Chicago after the charges against Smollett were dropped at the end of last month.
With immediate outrage from the rarely associated partners like Donald Trump, outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the Chicago Police Department, Cook's first assistant county attorney Joseph Magats told the media Locals that he was convinced that Smollett was guilty of having organized the assault himself. . After handling the case after Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from more and more critical critics, Magats also said that the agreement and the sealing of the case did not exonerate Smollett.
Since then, new lawsuits have taken place, the city attacking Smollett after the actor refused to pay back $ 130,000 for the costs of the investigation. Ola and Abel Osundairo, two alleged collaborators in the attack, sued Smollett's lawyers, Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian, for defamation, claiming that "their false statements and persistent rhetoric had only caused Aggravate the damage caused by the very first of the 16 counts of lies told to the police who started this whole situation. "
Although Smollett is not named as an accused in the last case, this complicates the already complex situation of his Empire fate, an insider of the network tells me.
"This causes a dilemma," said Lee Daniels at Good day new york this morning the trial of the city of Chicago and more. The letter of Empire the cast reveals that the dilemma can be a gentle way to put things into question.
Here is the complete letter:
Dear Charlie, Dana, Michael, Lee, Danny, Francie, Brian, Sanaa, Dennis and Brett,
Together we form a united front with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend, be brought back for our sixth season of Empire.
We understand that the last few months have been difficult to process. Sometimes the headlines brought more confusion than clarity, but now we have a conclusion to this test. Throughout the five seasons of Empire with Jussie and observing his behavior throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not only the character that represents Jussie, but also to truly know the personal character of Jussie. He is nice. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all, full of integrity. He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty as the criminal proceedings against him have been dropped. We are confident in the assurance of his lawyer that the case was closed because it would not have prevailed.
Jussie showed us on and off the set who he really is as a leader. In addition to being a caring friend and a cast member who treats each member of the team with love and respect, he spent time with our families and supported each one of us individually. These recent and detailed letters from the Black AIDS Institute, the Rainbow Push Coalition and the City Lights Orchestra illustrate his commitment to providing true community service. Just a few months ago, Jussie joined the Trevor project to support his volunteer program, which gives LGBTQ youth in crisis access to Consulting services. Previously, he had donated every cent of his world tour to many charities. He adopted a school in Chicago, learned music writing for young people in Cook County Jail last year, and bought the family of Kayden Kinckle, a six-year-old double amputee, a wheelchair accessible van. because his school district does wheelchair accessible school bus. He went to South Africa for service and to Jamaica to meet quietly about the safety of LGBTQ youth. All this was done without posture, without need for attention or even discussion.
It's the Jussie we know.
It is becoming increasingly clear every day that the extreme political climate in our country has only made our justice system and the court of public opinion more unfair.
That's why now, more than ever, we need to stand together as a family. A family is there for us in the good and bad times It can cut the noise and confusion to understand that there is at the center of it all a person who deserves nothing more than to advance in life. We understand that this show is a business. And this business counts for us too. We are confident that our fans will welcome our "Jamal" into the Empire family with as much enthusiasm as we will.
That's why we are writing today to ask you to keep Jussie in the cast so we can all put that behind us and move on. Thank you for taking the time to hear us. It is our hope that together we will begin our sixth season as the entire Empire family would do.
Taraji P Henson
Bryshere Y. Gray
Nicole Ari Parker