Jussie Smollett’s “Empire” father is standing by him after he was arrested for staging a hate crime.
Terrence Howard, who plays Lucious Lyon, showed his support for his co-star in an Instagram post on Sunday, sharing a video of Smollett on a plane playing with a child that appears to be Howard’s son.
“All your lil homies got you. We love the hell outta you,” Howard captioned the post, adding a heart emoji.
“Empire” co-star Gabourey Sidibe, who plays Becky on the Fox drama, commented on the post with three heart emojis.
However, actor Columbus Short, whose own legal problems cost him his role on “Scandal,” called on Howard to denounce Smollett for allegedly orchestrating his own attack.
“Whatever game was played is u acceptable,” Short wrote. “And yes I am speaking on your page loudly and clearly. I look up to you Terence. You have to take a leadership position. And denounce this (expletive). Otherwise you as dumb as he is. Period!”
Howard also cautioned another commenter who disapproved of him continuing to publicly support Smollett.
“Sorry you feel that way but that’s the only Jussie I know,” Howard said in a lengthy reply. “The Jussie I know could never even conceive of something so unconscious and ugly.
Howard also pointed out that it’s not the job of social media to judge Smollett.
“His innocence or judgment is not for any of us to decide,” he wrote. “Stay in your lane and my lane is empathy and love and compassion for someone I’ve called my son for five years. It’s God’s job to judge and it’s ours to love and hope, especially for those that we claim to have loved.”
On Friday, Fox announced that it had suspended Smollett and removed his character from the last two episodes of Season 5 following the “Empire” actor’s indictment and arrest on felony charges of filing a false police report and disorderly conduct.
Chicago police have accused him paying two men to attack him in January in what police say was an attempt to raise his profile because he wasn’t happy with his salary.
Jussie has been an important member of our ‘Empire’ family for the past five years and we care about him deeply,” a statement from 20th Century Fox Television attributed to the show’s executive producers read. “While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out.”
Rasha Ali, USA TODAY
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