“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, 36, has been blacklisted in the Hollywood scene after news broke that he fabricated his recent hospitalization. Smollett initially claimed that two Trump supporters brutally attacked him because he was gay and black. However, Smollett’s case took an unexpected turn when the Chicago Police Department charged him with filing a false police report.
The two alleged Trump supporters were later identified as the Osundairo brothers — Smollett’s good friends whom he reportedly paid to fake the hate crime. Now facing 16 felony accounts, Smollett is staying adamant about his innocence even though the Osundairo brothers admitted to the hoax crime and expressed regret for the part they played in it.
Following Smollett’s first court appearances, the “Empire” team received terrible news. Breitbart reported that the show's ratings tanked to an all-time low of 1.1 with just 4 million viewers on Wednesday, March 20th — dropping 9% overall.
According to The Wrap, the show’s ratings from the previous episode were down significantly compared to episodes aired prior to Smollett's arrest. The first episode that aired amidst the Smollet debacle only received a 1.3 demo rating and just shy over 4 million viewers. This season’s fall finale, the last episode to air before the Smollett case, received a 1.5 rating and over 5 million viewers.
Smollett’s character, a gay singer named Jamal Lyon, did appear in the most recent episodes. However, his character has allegedly been cut from the final two episodes of the season. It is unclear if they “killed off” his character or if he will be removed in another way.
Details regarding Smollett’s case are still unfolding. Thus far, the judge ruled that cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during the trial. Smollett did enter a “not guilty” plea on all 16 charges being held against him.
Since Smollett is assumed to try to prove his innocence, a definite motive for orchestrating the crime remains unknown. Previously, authorities stated that he was unhappy with his salary ($125,000 per episode), but Fox Entertainment said Smollett never gave any indication that he was unpleased with his paycheck.
In other celebrity news, a rock and roll icon recently suffered a stroke and is in need of prayer. Please pray for him!