Today, Empire actor Jussie Smollett was officially arrested amidst charges of filing a false police report; with that, the saga of the past few weeks has come to a harrowing end – at least for now.
Smollett’s arrest was confirmed today in a news conference by Chicago authorities, while Superintendent Eddie Johnson bemoaned the allegations that are placed against the actor:
“Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career … I’m left hanging my head and asking why. Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations [against him]? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile? How can an individual who has been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in the face by making these false claims?”
Johnson claims that Smollett faked an attack by two men because he was unhappy with his salary — in following this train of logic, his thinking would be that becoming the victim of such an attack would boost his profile and, in turn, his career opportunities. The question we of course still wonder is why Smollett, if guilty, believed that he would not get caught, especially in this era where there are so many police resources?
As for what this means when it comes to Empire, there’s a chance that it will cause Fox to rethink its previous strategy of standing behind the actor, depending of course of how things play out. His scenes on the show were already being cut down and we presume that he will be written out altogether for the end of the season. Beyond that, the show has the time to wait and see what happens with Smollett down the line. The series will likely be renewed for a season 6, which will start filming at some point over the summer. With that in mind, they can take their time in order to figure out precisely what they want to do with the character of Jamal Lyon long-term, and they can let the legal process play out to a certain degree. Obviously, it would be helpful for there to be some sort of firm decision before the writers got to work on the season, but they may not have complete control over that. These legal waters can be complicated.
As always, we welcome your thoughts on this story below; meanwhile, stay tuned for additional news on this subject. (Photo: Fox.)