Wednesday (March 13) night marked Empire’s return to the small screen for their mid-season Spring premiere. It’s also their first episode since the whole Jussie Smollett case started.
Jussie was charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report claiming he was attacked in a hate crime on the streets of Chicago early morning on January 29. The Empire actor was arrested on February 21.
He was released after posting $10,000 of his $100,000 bond.
It is said that the police now believe Jussie orchestrated the attack to further his career and get a salary raise.
It is also said that prior to the alleged attack, Jussie sent himself a threatening letter.
Throughout all of this, Jussie has maintained that he is a victim and innocent of all allegations against him.
It was previously announced that Jussie will not be appearing in this season’s final two episodes, but he continues to play Jamal Lyon in the episodes prior.
Wednesday night’s episode saw Jamal in some pretty emotional scenes. And seeing Jussie onscreen again has prompted mixed reactions from fans on Twitter.
“I cain’t even look at Jussie the same no mo’ in #Empire,” one fan wrote.
“I just want yall to know that #Empire is on Fox right now and Jamal sitting there lookin like a Jussie Smollett lie!! #ICantLetItGo #Empire,” another shared.
“Awkward just so awkward watching Jussie…oops Jamal…nope Jussie…ugh can’t focus on the episode,” a fan tweeted.
“Seeing Jussie breaks my heart 💔💔 #Empire,” one fan expressed.
Another fan encouraged others: “Don’t let the Jussie situation overshadow the return of #Empire. Still watch the show with or without him. Be a true Empire show supporter no matter what.”
Other fans continue to stan the star.
“Still love Jussie Empire wouldn’t be the same without him😞 #Empire,” one fan declared.
“#Empire I still Love Jussie disappointed but still love him,” another shared.
Jussie’s real-life legal battles may have cast a pall on the show’s premiere, but Empire, now in its fifth season, it continues to be one of the highest-rated shows. However, there have been multiple reports that Empire’s renewal for a sixth season may depend on the outcome of Jussie’s case.