It’s been…well, it’s been a long time since Jussie Smollett first claimed he was assaulted by two Trump supporters while in Chicago. It’s also been a long time since his accusations became, shall we say, a little questionable. Truth is, over four months into the case, no one can be sure what to think, with the Empire actor maintaining his innocence as allegations that he faked the attack have become increasingly credible.
One person who’s taking a stand: his boss Lee Daniels. The filmmaker and producer took to Twitter to call BS on a new (and since corrected) Variety report that claimed Empire’s writing room was ready for Smollett’s return.
“This is not factual,” the show’s head honcho wrote. “Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire.”
Smollett had already been written out of the show’s final episodes of its fifth season after evidence increasingly suggested the actor had played a role in what may have been his staged assault. All the while, Smollett’s fellow cast members have largely taken his side, some even writing a letter of support. In April, star Taraji P. Henson even claimed he’d be back for Season 6.
In March, criminal charges against Smollett — who had been formally charged with filing a false police report — were abruptly dropped, though the city of Chicago wound up filing a $130,000 lawsuit against him after he failed to pay a fine to recoup their extensive policework. More recently, extensive records from the investigation, previously sealed away, were being made public, which may shed more light on what happened that late Chicago night in January.