Taraji P. Henson is speaking out about “Empire” co-star Jussie Smollett.
In her first comments since Smollett was arrested for filing a false report claiming two men attacked him in an apparent hate crime, Henson says she and the rest of the cast are staying “strong”.
The actress stepped out for the premiere of her new movie “The Best of Enemies” in New York, Henson told “Extra” that they’re keeping “hope”, “You have to stay strong, stay positive, full of hope.”
Last week, Smollett pleaded not guilty to all 16 charges but his character on the show was removed from the final episodes of the upcoming fifth season.
Meanwhile, showrunner Brett Mahoney told Entertainment Weekly that the scandal shook the cast, “You have someone in your family who’s going through this, while at the same time, we’re shooting the final episodes of the season, which are also just heightened emotionally,” he said.
Adding, “So it was a lot to deal with and a lot to go through, but we’re really just focused on finishing strong.”
But Mahoney hasn’t made a final decision about Smollett’s fate on the show, “It’s too early to think about what we would have to do if we didn’t have Jussie,” he said. “We have such a strong ensemble and we have so many stories to tell for all of these fascinating characters that it’s bigger than one character, but it’s too early to think about the show without him.”
“The Best Of Enemies” hits theatres on April 5.