Jussie Smollett reportedly sent racist, homophobic letter to himself
The 36-year-old star had claimed he was the victim of a shocking assault in Chicago in January, but doubt was cast over the attack and he has now been charged.
LONDON - Latest reports from the Associated Press say actor Jussie Smollett sent the racist and homophobic letter to himself because he was dissatisfied with his salary.
BREAKING: Police: "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett sent himself racist and homophobic letter and was dissatisfied with his salary.— The Associated Press (@AP) February 21, 2019
Smollett is facing suspension from Empire after being charged with filing a false police report.
The 36-year-old star had claimed he was the victim of a shocking assault in Chicago in January, but doubt was cast over the attack and he has now been charged with a felony offence, so producers on the musical drama are said to be considering his future on the show.
Sources told Variety that show chiefs are currently deciding whether to suspend him from the programme but there are currently no plans to change the show’s shooting schedule.
Smollett is scheduled to appear on set on Thursday but is also due to appear in court for a bond hearing over the new charge.
Even if the actor does get suspended, sources told the website he is still expected to finish work on the series.
20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment previously denied the star will be written out of his role as Jamal Lyon entirely.
They said in a statement before he was charged: “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.”
And executive producer Danny Strong denied rumours last week that the actor was set to leave the show.
He tweeted: “There is 0% truth that @JussieSmollett was going to be written off of Empire. This rumour is totally false. He is the third lead and one of the most beloved characters on the show. Writing him off the show has NEVER even been discussed.”
Smollett could face up to three years in prison if he is found guilty, but his lawyers have vowed to “mount an aggressive defence” against the charge.
Attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said in a statement: “Like any other citizen, Mr Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defence.”