Empire is filming a scene in the very spot controversial star Jussie Smollett claimed he was a victim of a violent hate crime, causing speculation as to whether the show is trying to recreate the scene.
What We Know:
- Smollett claimed he was attacked by two racist and homophobic Trump-supporting men earlier this year; Smollett claimed two men, the Osundairo brothers, attacked him just outside of his apartment calling him the N-word, physically assaulting him and yelling their allegiance to President Donald Trump, and leaving him with a rope around his neck. The story was famously debunked as an attack orchestrated by Smollett landing him subsequently-dropped charges on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct.
- Fox crew was spotted setting up camp to film for the sixth season of Empire right at the location Smollett claims he was attacked, creating speculation that the show may be milking the alleged attack for the drama of the show. Though there are only stand-ins in existing set photographs, TMZ reported it’s clear the show is about to shoot something in the area.
- When the attack was first reported, Fox initially supported Smollett in a public statement stating “Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show”. The tune changed when Smollett was arrested, at which point the network cut Smollett out of “Empire” for good out of respect for the ongoing investigation and to avoid disruption to the set. Co-creator Lee Daniels confirmed among shooting rumors that Smollett will still not be returning to the cast.
— Lee Daniels (@leedanielsent) June 4, 2019
- Though the charges against Smollett were dropped, the City of Chicago has filed a lawsuit against Smollett for the cost of the investigation, claiming the nearly half-million-dollar investigation was directly linked to Smollett’s falsified claims. Smollett has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit claiming that even had he lied, which he maintains his innocence on, he could not have possibly anticipated the cost of the investigation.
Viewers and speculators will have to wait until the show’s sixth and final season airs in September.