‘Empire’ Cast Pen Letter To Bosses In Support Of Jussie Smollett Remaining On Show

Published: Wednesday 24th Apr 2019 by Sam

Jussie Smollett may still be treading on uncertain ground in the wake of the legal fiasco surrounding his alleged attack, but he just received a major endorsement from his ‘Empire’ cast-mates.

As widely reported, the 36-year-old went from victim to suspect after reporting a January beatdown – one he insists was rooted in racism and homophobia.

An outpouring of support turned to question marks when Chicago PD eventually hit the actor with a 16 count indictment, rooted in the belief that he fabricated the entire incident.

Last month saw the case collapse, but word is that Smollett’s future on ‘Empire’ is anything but certain.

Now, on the evening his last episode of the current season airs, a letter of support co-signed by the likes of Taraji P. Henson and Terrance Howard has surfaced.

Addressed to the bosses of the hit show, its impetus is clear – they want Jussie to stay on.

Their words below…

Via Deadline:

‘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.

We understand the past months have been difficult to process—sometimes the headlines brought more confusion than clarity, yet we now have a conclusion to this ordeal. 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. We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.

Jussie has shown us on and off the set who he really is as a leader. In addition to being a caring friend and cast member who treats every crew member with love and respect, he has spent time with our families and individually supported each of us. These recent and detailed letters from The Black AIDS Institute, the Rainbow Push Coalition and the City Lights Orchestra shine a light on his commitment to true community service. Just a few months ago, Jussie partnered with the Trevor Project to provide support to their volunteer program that allows LGBTQ youth in crisis access to vital counseling services. Prior to that, he gave every cent from his sold out world tour to numerous charities. He has adopted a school in Chicago, taught songwriting to incarcerated youth at the Cook County Jail last year and bought the family of Kayden Kinckle, a six-year-old, double amputee, a wheelchair accessible van due to his school district not having a wheelchair accessible school bus. He has traveled to South Africa for service as well as to Jamaica to quietly meet about the safety of LGBTQ youth. This was all done without posturing, the need for attention or even discussion.

This is the Jussie we know.

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.

It is why now, more than ever, we must stand together as a family. A family is there for us in good times and bad. It can cut through the noise and confusion to understand that there is a person in the center of all this who deserves nothing more than to move forward with his life. We understand that this show is a business. And that business matters to us as well. We are confident our fans will welcome our “Jamal” back into the Empire family as enthusiastically as we will.

That is why we write today to ask you to keep Jussie on the cast so that we can all put this behind us and move forward. Thank you for taking time to hear us. It’s our hope that together we will move into our sixth season as the entire Empire family should.


Terrence Howard
Taraji P Henson
Bryshere Y. Gray
Trai Byers
Gabourey Sidibe
Nicole Ari Parker

Time will tell if their banding together yields the desired result.

Much as it may read as support for Smollett, one has to wonder whether it doubles as a broader means of lobbying for the show’s return at a time when its future is harder than ever to predict.

Your thoughts?

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  1. King of Kingz April 24, 2019

    That’s REAL loyalty & family type s*** there ???????? The show is def gonna get renewed its Fox’s highest rated show after 911. With the cast lobbying together for his return they def gonna bring him back, he plays an important role in the show

    • Jasmine April 24, 2019

      You are forgetting that any non-lead character can be replaced on shows by another actor. Look at Dynasty, the show Empire stole its concept from, where they had multiple people play the same gay son character over the years. Fans of the show get over a non-lead actor change quite quickly. Without Empire, who exactly is Jussie? See he is just a replaceable / forgettable actor. The actors who play Cookie and Lushion are the only ones who cannot be replaced since they are the show’s leads

  2. Anita Dockery April 24, 2019

    Keep Jussie on empire. We luv him.

    • Jasmine April 24, 2019

      Speak for yourself only. I say good riddance. He has a bad attitude!

  3. Brent Christopher April 24, 2019

    They don’t truly CARE about Jussie as much as they care about the sixth season being successful so they can secure enough episodes to be approved for syndication. The cast wants to secure their future in making sure that in their older years, a check will still be coming in as EMPIRE airs on various secondary networks. Without Jussie, they know there is no successful sixth season. This is about other people’s careers & finances. Terrance Howard is NOT in support of Jussie on a personal note.

    • Jasmine April 24, 2019

      I disagree. The show will pull in the same ratings without Jussie. He does not make or break the show. They could easily kill his character off or replace him with another actor. I see they already have a new actor playing one of Lushion’s sons so that likely means either Jamal or Andre is getting killed off the show.

  4. ERIC April 24, 2019

    There are hundreds more voices urging producers NOT to bring Jussie back. If cast and crew were uncomfortable with Jussie on set as the network said, then things are REALLY going to be awkward if Jussie is brought back with an unsettled lawsuit and an ongoing FBI investigation. You can tell not one of those actors had any hand in penning that letter. It’s more likely that Jussie himself wrote it with the help of his attorney who is good at spinning truth and selling lies. Cast was forced to support it. What would it look like if one or two signed off on it and the others held out? The tabloids would have a field day with that.

  5. papi April 24, 2019

    i’m not watching unless Jussie is on the show.

    • Irving April 24, 2019

      It’s getting cancelled so you don’t have to watch.

  6. Rooting for the Twins April 24, 2019

    Fire Jussie or cancel the show who cares!? And who cares about what checks they are trying to secure. The show is not that great for anyone to want to syndicate it. Fox should invest their money into better pilots for the fall season. And canceling the show will put Jussie on everyone’s s*** list. It’s something he needs to experience so he can understand the repercussions of his actions and lies

  7. Bey Best April 24, 2019


  8. Jeans April 25, 2019

    Please CANCEL this show!

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