The "Empire" cast stands behind Jussie Smollett, in claiming his innocence.
Even though he was cleared of all 16 charges he was facing over a messy kidnapping hoax, Jussie Smollett isn't any closer to getting his name cleared. That being said, Empire a members Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard have taken to the media (Deadline) to voice their demands that Smollett be returned to the cast in order to resume their disrupted shooting schedule.
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"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," reads letter co-authored by the two lead actors. "[...] 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."
Henson and Howard wrote the statement on behalf of their fellow castmates in direct opposition of the stance by Empire's executive hand shortly after Jussie was placed under arrest. Although the letter calling for Smollett's return was passed to a liaison in the press (Deadline), it is addressed to several high-ranking executives in particular: Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment chairwoman Dana Walden, Fox president Michael Thorn, as well as the show's co-creators Danny Strong and Lee Daniels, to name a few.