They're happy to see him return to set.
We're just scratching the surface of 2019 and it's turned out to be a helluva year thus far, but this Jussie Smollett case is one storyline that was made for television. As you probably already know, all 16 charges filed against Smollett have been dropped. The actor gave a press conference following the news, and he thanked investigators for their time while also maintaining his innocence.
"Honestly, one of the worst [times] of my entire life," he said. "But I am a man of faith and I'm a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives, or the movement into a fire like this. I just wouldn't. Now I'd like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life. But make no mistake, I will always continue to fight for justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere."
Over the last few months, the case has drawn its own attention while also shifting focus to the actor's hit show Empire. Because of the controversy, Smollett was written out of the final episodes and there have been reports that he was fired altogether. The recent ratings for the show have been at an all-time low, and fans are left wondering what is in store for the series.
20th Century Fox issued a statement about the charges against Smollett being dropped: "Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified on his behalf that all charges against him have been dismissed: "Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified on his behalf that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
There have been rumors about how his fellow Empire cast members have reacted to Smollett's court battle. Taraji P. Henson previously called the atmosphere on set "great" through the off-screen drama, and now that Smollett is attempting to rebuild his career—and his overall life—his Empire family have come forward to show their support.
Taraji P. Henson told USA Today:
"I'm happy that the truth has finally been set free, because I knew it all along," she said. We're all happy for him, and thank God the truth prevailed. Those little clickbait (reports) weren't enough to deter me from his immaculate track record. I know the type of activism this young man does in his community, I know that he's a giver – he's not an attention-seeker."
She added, "When I know someone, there's nothing you can say to make me flip on them, and that's what we miss in this world," she says. "We need people that stand by us. Whatever happened to that? Why are we so easy to believe strangers over people we know?"
Gabby Sidibe also shared a photo of Smollett on Instagram and had a questioned the public's loyalty to the Chicago Police Department, an institution that doesn't have the most honorable past. "It’s weird that y’all decided that the police were being 100% honest about this case." AzMarie Livingston kept things simple and to the point in her statement to People, saying "I’m happy his charges are being dropped and look forward to seeing Jussie on set and his character Jamal back on Empire."