In late January, Jussie Smollett filed a police report, stating he had allegedly been the victim of a hate crime attack. He was later charged with filing a false police report, and then a few days later to the public disbelief all charges were dropped. What many did not know is that his actions would have a much farther reach than could be imagined.
When the Cook County State's Attorney's Office officially announced that all 16 felony counts that had been handed down to Smollett, had in fact been dropped suddenly, outrage erupted. So much so, that following the very controversial announcement, the ratings for "Empire," the FOX show of which Smollett was a cast member, plummeted to an "all-time low."
Having been on a mid-season hiatus, the Wednesday night series returned, however, the overall viewership for the return showed as garnering 3.97 million. According to TV Line, the viewership for the return was the lowest it has ever been for the series to date.
Although there was an appearance of a slow decline in ratings, the routine average was still more than 10 million viewers. The hiatus return episode a far cry from the norm, to say the least.
When his charges had been suddenly dropped, Smollett stated he was eager to get back to work. However, it is not known at this point if he had a job to return to, as no announcement has been made of his “Empire” character returning.
20th Century Fox has made the statement that they are “gratified” that Smollett’s charge had indeed been dropped, it is still very unclear as to whether the series is even planned or scheduled for a season six return.
As many may recall, Smollett had filed a police report on Januarys 29th, stating he had been the victim of a hate crime. He claimed two men, wearing MAGA hats, beat and yelled homophobic slurs. Once the investigation into the event began, law enforcement determined that the alleged attack was indeed staged by Smollett himself.
The grand jury handed down 16 felony charges, and Smollett was charged. Then, just a few days later, in a move many state was “privilege" based, all the charges against Smollett were dropped, and he was subsequently set free.
Even though he is free today, the events that he set into motion are having a more substantial rippling effect than even Smollett, or anyone else could have anticipated.
As of this writing, there is a massive call by the fans to boycott the series "Empire" due to Smollett's association with the show.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Should the series “Empire” suffer the fallout of what one of the actors chose to do in their personal life?