The “Empire” set has been left deeply divided by the Jussie Smollett scandal, we’re told, between people who continue to support the embattled actor despite his arrest, and people who are furious with him.
Sources say the cast has been broadly more supportive of him, while the crew has been broadly more critical.
The schism on the Chicago set was brought to the fore in recent days, we’re told, when a well-wishes card was passed around for Smollett, who was charged on Feb. 20 for allegedly staging a hoax hate crime against himself.
We’re told some people signed the card, but many refused.
“Some of the cast wanted to send him a message, like a ‘We’re thinking of you’ thing, and asked people to sign it,” said a source, “but a lot of people were disgusted. The hair and makeup people, a lot of the crew.”
As Page Six reported, Smollett returned to work on the Fox show just hours after posting bail on Feb. 21.
Despite the fact that the Chicago Police Department gave a news conference detailing exactly how they believe Smollett put the scheme together, he still has supporters.
On Tuesday, Queen Latifah — who has appeared on “Empire” — told Yahoo of Smollett, “The guy I’ve seen has always been someone who cares about people, who cares about others, and who’s very kind and who’s always been cool and sweet,” adding, “So until I can see some definitive proof — which I haven’t seen yet — then, you know, I gotta go with him until I see otherwise.”
Apparently, people on the set feel similarly.
On Feb. 20, Smollett was charged with filing a false police report related to the Jan. 29 incident. On Friday, a grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 further felony counts of disorderly conduct. He’s currently free on $100,000 bail.
Reps for “Empire” and Smollett didn’t get back to us.