The Empire Actor Terrence Howard, who plays the father of Jussie Smollett’s character on Empire, has shown his support for his fellow cast member with allegations that Smollett staged a racist, anti-gay attack on himself.
Howard, who plays music mogul Lucious Lyon on the Fox television series, took to Instagram and posted a video of Smollett holding a giggling baby boy with the message: “All your lil homies got you… We love the hell outta you.”
The post on Saturday came a day after Empire producers announced that Smollett’s character, Jamal Lyon, would be removed from the final two episodes of the season, saying cast and crew were affected, and they made the move “to avoid further disruption on the set.”
The series, which is on a midseason break, returns on 13 March with nine episodes. Seven episodes were already completed before Smollett was charged last week with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report.
Police say Smollett, who is black and gay, claimed two masked men attacked him last month in downtown Chicago, hurling slurs and looping a rope around his neck. Investigators say he planned the hoax, soliciting the help of a friend and the friend’s brother, because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career.
Smollett denies the allegations.
While some Empire cast members posted supportive messages on social media after Smollett claimed he was attacked, it appears Howard is the only one to do so after Smollett was charged. Fox also publicly supported Smollett after the initial claims.
Howard’s post generated more than 385,000 views by midday on Sunday and countless comments, both critical and supportive.