Los Angeles (PTI) The cast of “Empire” has sent a letter to Fox and the show’s producers, asking them to bring back Jussie Smollett in the next season.
Smollett was written out of the last two episodes of season five after he was accused by Chicago police of orchestrating a staged assault against himself earlier this year.
The 36-year-old was initially charged with 16 felony counts related to filing a false police report, but they were later dropped.
The letter, signed by the actors, including lead stars Taraji P Henson and Terrence Howard, urged the makers to ensure Smollett’s return for the sixth season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of ‘Empire’,” they wrote.
The letter has been addressed to Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment chair Dana Walden, Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn, as well as “Empire” co-creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong.
“We understand the past months have been difficult to process sometimes the headlines brought more confusion than clarity, yet we now have a conclusion to the ordeal,” the cast said.
“Throughout ‘Empire’s’ five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character,” they added.
The cast described Smollett as an “honest” man who is “filled with integrity”.
“He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped. We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed,” they said.
The letter has also been signed by actors Bryshere Y Gray, Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe and Nicole Ari Parker.