Actor Jussie Smollett is likely to be fired from his Fox TV show Empire, reports Deadline.
As the scandal around Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx’s inexplicable decision to drop all 16 felony counts against Smollett turns nuclear, sources tell Deadline Smollett is seen as radioactive.
“It’s a position that seems headed towards Empire coming back for another season, but most likely without Smollett, ” reports Deadline.
A source explains, “Things are so unclear and there is a feeling that this isn’t over, that there’s more to come.”
Indeed there is.
As Pajama Media’s Roger Simon put it Tuesday, Smollett is now seen by the public as “the new O. J., another man getting away with a crime he committed in full public view. That didn’t work out very well for The Juice. In fact, he’s a pariah for life. And it won’t for Smollett either.”
That is exactly right, with one crucial difference…
After butchering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, O.J. had no choice but to proclaim his innocence until the very end. His choice was a stark one: Life in prison or not.
Until this week, Smollett did have a choice, an opportunity to save himself through. Confession. Contrition. Accept your punishment. Ask for forgiveness. It’s happened before. Look at Mike Tyson. Look at Mel Gibson. It took time, but America loves a redemption story; we’re a country built on second chances.
What America will not forgive, though, is what happened in Chicago. Smollett let off the hook due to so-and-so’s political connections to the Chicago Crime Family Known as the Obamas…? Smollett’s obscene public statement afterward about how he and “his truth” are now vindicated…? Smollett taking the high ground in the fight for justice…?
If the criminal justice system won’t punish Smollett, the American people will and already are by tuning out Empire in droves. And Empire star Taraji P. Henson is certainly not helping the Empire brand by making statements like “thank God the truth prevailed,” although her loyalty to her friend is understandable.
Nevertheless, we are only at the beginning of this story. What had been a scintillating celebrity scandal is now a full-fledged political and corruption scandal that reaches all the way up to a former president.
What’s more, the local Chicago media is nothing like America’s national media. These Windy City reporters are actual reporters, are not corrupt and lazy and desperate to protect Democrats. This story has legs, legs like a spider, eight of them and with outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel leading the charge, a Democrat no less, Obama’s former White House Chief of Staff no less, the meat grinder of this scandal is set on auto-repeat, and it is Smollett who will never escape it.
Emanuel is even considering a suit against Smollett as a means to recoup the massive expense the city incurred investigating a hoax. The $10,000 Smollett forfeited (his bail money) doesn’t even come close to cover that tab. A lawsuit is a wonderful idea and could drag out for years, ensuring Smollett’s unforgivable arrogance lives on.
From the sounds of it, Fox has a legitimate out if they do indeed decide to drop Smollett — and that is the pending federal case.
Authorities say that before he orchestrated the hate crime hoax, Smollett mailed a hate letter filled with white powder (that turned out to be aspirin) to himself. Mail fraud is a federal crime and the G-Men are still looking into that.
The G-Men are also nibbling around the edges of the decision to drop Smollett’s charges, which could result in a long and dirty corruption investigation into Cook County.
Those un-dropped shoes, and the possibility of one or both of them hitting the floor at the most inopportune time, would be a nightmare for Empire, so there is a valid reason for Fox to cut the pariah loose — you know, other than the fact he’s a pariah.
TMZ reports that “Jussie’s showbiz job offers have completely dried up … [and] Despite the charges getting dropped this week, we’re told Jussie has not been contacted about any potential work and knows he’s more or less a Hollywood outcast for now … so, it’s time for a full-on PR blitz.”
Jussie actually believes he can clean up his image, become likable again, be seen as the victim again…
Not without contrition, pal. Not in America.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.