The mysterious case of Empire actor Jussie Smollett took another twist this week. On Tuesday morning, the announcement was made that the prosecutor in his alleged staged attack case had dropped all 16 charges against the actor.
It’s fortuitous timing, of course, given that this weekend is the NAACP Image Awards ceremony, for which Smollett is nominated in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Host Anthony Anderson spoke on Wednesday at the event’s preview day, and explained why he hopes Smollett takes home the prize, according to Variety.
“I’m happy for him that the system worked for him in his favor because the system isn’t always fair, especially for people of color. So I’m glad it worked out for him,” Anderson said, adding, “It’s not my place or any other person’s place to judge him or what not, but I’m glad the he’s nominated…I hope he wins because I’d be interested to hear his speech.”
At this stage, it is not known whether Smollett even plans to be in attendance at the awards show, particularly with the buzz currently surrounding him from a media perspective. USA Today is reporting that representative Pamela Sharp did “not have that information as of now.”
Jussie Smollett is up for an NAACP award, and "Black-ish" actor Anthony Anderson hopes he will win. https://t.co/dH2ipr2TwS
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) March 28, 2019
Smollett has been nominated for the same award in the same category for the last three years in a row as well, with him taking home the spoils at the 2017 awards ceremony. He also has other awards that he has earned thanks to his time on Empire. This year’s installment marks the 50th awards ceremony.
Despite the success he has enjoyed on the show for the past few years, his future there is still uncertain. Although Smollett was never fired from the show after his arrest, he was removed from the final two episodes of Season 5 before it aired.
Now that the charges against him have been dropped, he would certainly be free to return should the show be renewed for a sixth season, but it’s unclear how the cast and crew would feel about it. Per a previous report by The Inquisitr, his co-workers are unsure how they feel about him after he allegedly paid two brothers to attack him in what appeared to be a racist and homophobic crime.
For many of them, there is a feeling that he has been let off scot-free, even though he is guilty. Others have stood by him since day one, refusing to believe he would do such a thing. For the latter group, the charges being dropped are akin to exoneration, and feel that he should be allowed to return to the show if it’s renewed.