Taraji P. Henson Says Jussie Smollett Will Not Be Fired From ‘Empire’


If Empire comes back for a sixth season, Jamal will be part of it. At least that’s what Taraji P. Henson believes. The actress, 45, who leads the Fox series as Cookie Lyon, opened up about Jussie Smollett and his role on the series going forward.

“I talk to Jussie all the time, and he’s doing well. We’re all doing well,” the Best of Enemies star revealed on The View on Thursday, April 4. “The show is doing well. We’re on hiatus right now. The writers are trying to figure out what the next season is going to look like, what our storyline is going to be. They’re trying to drum up some really good juicy stuff for you guys.”

Empire has not yet been renewed for a sixth season, but as far as Henson knows, Smollett, 36, will be back if they are. “Yes, I haven’t heard anything else,” she stated.

Taraji P. Henson Says Jussie Smollett Will Not Be Fired
Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett in the “Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils” episode of ‘Empire.’ FOX via Getty Images

Smollett was previously indicted with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report and claiming that he was the victim of a hate crime in January. Authorities later claimed he staged the incident; the singer pleaded not guilty to lying to police. In February, Smollett was suspended from Empire and the producers announced that they were removing his scenes from the final two episodes of the season.

Then, on March 26, all charges against him were suddenly dropped.

“Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgment,” his attorneys said in a statement to Us Weekly at the time.

The statement continued, “Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result. Jussie is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career.”

After the announcement, 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment released the following statement: “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence, and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”

Empire airs on Fox Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

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