Days after Chicago prosecutors extensively laid out how Jussie Smollett allegedly planned a hate-crime attack against himself, his Empire co-star, Terrence Howard, is supporting and defending his television son in the midst of Smollett’s ongoing investigation. “The Jussie I know could never even conceive of something so unconscious and ugly,” Howard wrote on Instagram. “His innocence or judgment is not for any of us to decide. Stay in your lane and my lane is empathy and love and compassion for someone I’ve called my son for five years. It’s God’s job to judge and it’s ours to love and hope, especially for those that we claim to have loved. There’s nothing more harmful than a real friend!” Howard also posted a video of Smollett playfully chillin’ with a baby.
Smollett’s future within the Empire universe is currently up in the air. Reports indicate that the Fox drama is seriously considering recasting his role of Jamal Lyon, while in the meantime, he was cut from the final two episodes of this season in order to “avoid further disruption on set” after the “disturbing allegations” against him came to light. “The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us,” the show’s creatives said. “We are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out.”
Smollett was charged last week with making a false police report, which is a felony disorderly conduct charge that could bring jail time and/or monetary fines. Smollett was subsequently released on a $100,000 bond, and he had to relinquish his passport. He will appear again in court in March.