Fox Mulls Options After ‘Empire’ Actor Jussie Smollett Charged With Crime

(Bloomberg) -- With 21st Century Fox Inc.’s “Empire” show in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, the company is pondering its options.

Jussie Smollett, an actor on the drama, was arrested and charged with felony disorderly conduct after an investigation revealed he falsely reported the Jan. 29 attack to police on a Chicago street.

“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process,” the 20th Century Fox TV division said on Twitter Thursday. “We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”

Smollett claimed two masked men attacked him and uttered the words, “This is MAGA country,” an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Smollett turned himself in Thursday morning to face charges.

Chicago Police said Smollett staged the attack because he wanted to get a higher salary on the show.

The incident drew a rebuke from Trump himself soon after the actor surrendered to authorities. The president said Smollett had insulted tens of millions of people with “racist and dangerous comments.”

One question now is whether Smollett will still appear in “Empire,” a “King Lear”-inspired drama set in the hip-hop world.

Fox had said earlier this week that Smollett wasn’t being written out of the show. “Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set,” the studio tweeted.

The show’s fifth season is slated to start next month on the Fox network.

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