Empire stars are continuing to show their support for their fellow castmate Jussie Smollett following the controversy surrounding the alleged racist and homophobic attack the star was involved in earlier this year.
According to The Wrap, actors Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard are among the list of names on Wednesday who signed a letter to Fox and Empire producers advocating for Smollett’s return for the show’s sixth season.
The letter was addressed to Fox Entertainment’s Charlie Collier, and Michael Thorn and Dana Walden from Disney TV Studios. The show co-creators, Lee Daniels, Danny Strong and showrunner Brett Mahoney’s names were also included, along with other executive producers on Empire.
Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe and Nicole Ari Parker also signed the letter requesting Smollett’s return.
“Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of ‘Empire,‘” the letter stated.
Smollett did not make an appearance in the last two episodes of Empire’s fifth season. He was written out after Chicago accused him of arranging a “staged assault” against himself in January. He was charged with 16 felony counts relating to the incident, but they were all eventually dropped.
“We understand the past months have been difficult to process — sometimes the headlines brought more confusion than clarity, yet we now have a conclusion to this ordeal,” the letter said.
Describing his character, the Smollett’s castmates characterized him as being “kind,” “compassionate,” “honest,” and “filled with integrity.”
“He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped,” the group wrote. “We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.”
The Wrap reports that Fox refused to comment and a spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television did not instantly respond on the matter.
Check out the full pinned letter on the site here.