Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is James Barrett.
After law enforcement concluded that instead of being a victim of a racist, homophobic assault by Trump supporters on a freezing cold night in Chicago, actor Jussie Smollett had allegedly "orchestrated" a hate crime hoax against himself, "Empire" announced that he would not be returning for its final season.
On Tuesday, the first episode of the Fox show's final season aired with one character conspicuously missing. So how did the show's creators choose to write Smollett off the show? They literally gave his absence a dismissive "anyway."
"The last time 'Empire' fans saw Jussie Smollett on the show, he was getting married to the love of his life, looking jubilant in a white tuxedo and dancing with his new husband while family drama swirled around him,"
writes The New York Times'
Julia Jacobs. "At that point, Mr. Smollett's character, Jamal Lyon, was the focal point of the show: Fans watched him fret over his vows and patch up a last-minute fight with his fiancé before they walked down the aisle."
Cut to the Season 6 premiere in which the suddenly vanished Jamal is merely a passing reference. His glaring absence is only noted in one scene, in which his mother Cookie (played by Taraji Henson) and Jamal's good friend Becky Williams (Gabourey Sidibe) briefly mention that he has simply decided to "[run] off to London."
Cookie reveals the bizarre disappearance of Jamal in reference to Becky's ultra-feminine PJs. When Becky remarks that she used to wear outfits like that to sleepovers with Jamal, Cookie quips, "No wonder that boy ran off to London."
Why did he move to London? Becky offers another joking comment as a pseudo-explanation. "I thought he was running away from Lyon drama,"
"I really miss him,"
adds Becky, which prompts Cookie to reply, "Please don't get me started; I miss him so much."
With now just four lines dedicated to Jamal's almost show-stopping disappearance - two throw-away jokes and two a little more serious but equally insincere - Cookie moves on with a big "anyway."
"Anyway, why do we need to have this slumber party?"
And with that, Smollett's central character is entirely dismissed from the formerly high-rated show.
As the controversy surrounding Smollett's case continued following the abrupt dismissal of his long list of charges by much-criticized Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, and city officials filing a lawsuit against him to recoup the $130,000 they say was wasted on investigating his "false report," "Empire" creator Lee Daniels announced in June that Smollett would not be returning to the show.
In August, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed
a special prosecutor, former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, to investigate the way Smollett's case was handled by Foxx's office - and was given the power to potentially reinstate the charges, or even add additional charges, against the actor. While Smollett and his lawyers maintain that "every iota
" of the police-disputed story he told authorities is true, their various motions to have the city's lawsuit dismissed have failed
This week was an awkward one for "Empire" in more ways than one. Along with the "anyway" scene dismissing one of the show's biggest stars, another one of the leads in the series, Terrence Howard, landed himself in headlines for his wild explanation for why he was leaving the acting business altogether.
"I've made some discoveries in my personal life with the science that Pythagoras was searching for,"
Howard told a bewildered interviewer on the red carpet of the Emmys Sunday. "I was able to open up the flower of life and find the real wave conjugations that we've been looking for for 10,000 years."
He went on to claim that he was going to "build the Milky Way galaxy without gravity."