Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard and their Empire castmates want Jussie Smollett back on the show as series co-creator Lee Daniels decides what to do with the actor following his Chicago assault drama.
Smollett, who was indicted for allegedly filing a false police report, was released from custody last month and all charges against him were mysteriously dropped.
The move outraged Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and the city’s chief of police, who insisted the actor had orchestrated an attack on himself.
City of Chicago officials are currently suing Smollett to recover the cost of the investigation into his alleged attack, and his professional career currently hangs in the balance as Daniels and his associates discuss whether they want the actor back as a series regular.
His castmates have signed a letter, obtained by Deadline, in which they demand Smollett’s return to the show. The note was sent to Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier and Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment chair Dana Walden, among others, last week.
In reads in part: “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 is co-signed by Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe and Nicole Ari Parker.
Reports suggest Wednesday night’s Empire episode was the last Smollett filmed – and it could be his last appearance on the show, but his co-stars are determined to do what they can to make sure he returns.
“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 continues.
“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.
“We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.”
Meanwhile, the embattled Cook County State’s attorney who agreed to drop the charges against Smollett and let him walk free from custody last month, has revealed she has received “racially charged” death threats.
Kim Foxx has now boosted her personal security amid concerns for her safety and that of her family.