Even if you don’t watch Empire, you may be familiar with Smollett’s name and the scandal that’s surrounded him over the past 3 years. Now, a verdict has been reached…
Jussie Smollett is a household name.
He’s been acting since he was a small child and his early movie credits include The Mighty Ducks and North.
He also appeared in Alien: Covenant as a character named Ricks.
Smollett is also a talented singer. He released his debut album, Sum of My Music, in 2018.
But he’s probably best known for his role in Fox’s Empire.
Since its premiere back in 2015, Empire has become a huge success. The show follows a hip-hop mogul who must choose a successor from his three sons. It’s co-created by Oscar-nominated director and writer, Lee Daniels.
It’s a huge hit.
Empire has a stellar cast of extremely talented actors.
It’s full on glamor.
Lucious Lyon is a former drug dealer and current CEO of “Empire Entertainment”.
Cookie is a fan-favorite amongst Empire loyalists. She’s the wife of Lucious Lyon and the mother of his three sons.
She’s played by the incredibly talented Taraji P. Henson.
And of course, there’s Jussie Smollett.
But back in 2019, a report circulated stating that writers were preparing for the sixth, and last, season of the show and that Smollett was returning.
It initally gave fans hope.
Variety had tweeted out the article, which explained that writers were preparing for Smollett’s return. But that wasn’t the case.
There was a lot of speculation about whether or not Smollett would return to Empire.
He was previously written out of season 5 after he was arrested for allegedly filing a false police report.
In the report, he claimed that he was the victim of a hate crime.
The city of Chicago wants Smollett to pay over $130,000 for “investigatory fees,” but Smollett has refused to cover.
When Empire was renewed, there were “no plans” for Smollett to come back, but his contract had been extended, leaving the door potentially open.
“We’ve been told that Jussie will not be on Empire in the beginning of the season,” Smollett’s rep had told ETOnline.
“But he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal’s future open,” Smollett’s rep had told ETOnline.
According to ETOnline, Jamal’s arc was a “creative priority” for Smollett.
“This was an episode that Jussie really championed with the writers and a storyline he is proud of,” the source told the publication.
The Empire cast rallied behind Smollett during this uncertain time.
Many wanted him back.
The cast sent a letter to Fox and Disney, asking them to reinstate Smollett for the sixth and final season.
It was strongly worded.
“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,” the cast wrote in the letter, obtained by Deadline.
They went on …
“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,” the letter also said.
That’s not all …
“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,” the letter says.
They stood up for his character.
“He is kind. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all, he is filled with integrity,” the letter reads.
The letter continued.
“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.”
They hit out, too …
“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”.
You can read the entire letter here.
Smollett might not be returning to Empire, but it’s clear that he will always be an integral and beloved part of the Lyon, and Empire, family.
And now, more than two years later, Smollett’s trial has finally come to court.
Earlier this month, Smollett has arrived at court to face the charges as to whether or not he orchestrated a phony hate crime upon himself, which he then reported to the police.
The trial has been jam packed with massive moments.
The biggest being when Smollett himself took the stand to face the controversial allegations against him.
When asked whether he had made the assault up, Mr Smollett replied: “Never,” as per the BBC.
He strongly denied the allegations, stating: “There was no hoax.”
Now the jury have returned their verdict …
The jury has found Smollett guilty of lying about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
Overall he was found guilty of 5 out of the 6 felony charges he faced.