The Fall of the “Empire”

 BY Brandon Ricketts

Staff Reporter

Actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for making false reports about being attacked and making racial slurs in downtown Chicago in Jan., according to AP News.

Some students believe that Smollett committed the crime to increase his wealth. 

“I hear he did it for a pay raise and I hope that isn’t true because I don’t believe staging an assault on yourself is going to help get you more money per show,” said junior Rebecca Cucuzzella.

The “Empire” star is charged with recruiting two brothers to stage an attack to make it appear that he was assaulted for being gay and black. 

“Empire” co-creator and executive producer, Lee Daniels, said that since Smollett’s controversy the cast and crew have experienced “pain and anger and sadness and frustration and really don’t know how to deal with it,” according to AP News.

The newest season of “Empire” aired on Wed., March 13. The ratings were the shows lowest, with 4.4 million viewers in the first episode of the new season. 

“I was very uninterested with watching the show along with some of my other friends after the controversy,” said sophomore Jessica Teixeira. “He represented the LGBTQ community so well, not to mention the black community, so to see this hurts.”

This is not the first time a show has seen a major drop in ratings or even had an episode or show pulled. 

In May 2018, ABC’s “Roseanne” was pulled from the air because of the surfacing of Roseanne Barr’s racist tweets, according to AP News. 

Also, Kevin Spacey, who was hit with a sexual misconduct allegation after supposedly groping an 18-year old male in 2016, has been removed from the award winning Netflix series “House of Cards” as well as other productions he had taken part in.

“I believe that actors should be held accountable for their actions. One measure I would take as the director of the show would be to get rid of this toxic person,” said Cucuzzella. “There should be no other option but removal from the show, and that goes for any show”.

Smollett’s character has been removed from the final two episodes of the current season of “Empire”.

“I hope Smollett is just being falsely accused, because I would never wish prison on anyone and I don’t want Empire’s show to become less and less interesting,” said Teixeira.

Smollett has pled not guilty and denied that he staged the attack, according to AP News. A trial date has yet to be set. 

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