A former colleague of Jussie Smollett suggested during a recent interview that the American public may not have seen the last of the alleged hate crime hoaxer.
Vivica A. Fox, 55, made the remarks during an interview with talk show host Andy Cohen on Sunday.
Fox and Smollett starred together on “Empire” – until executive producers of the Fox drama series, including Lee Daniels, issued a statement in February announcing Smollett’s character would be written off the show.
Cohen, the host of “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” asked Fox whether she agreed with Daniels’ decision not to bring Smollett back for “Empire’s” sixth and final season, which is currently airing.
“He’s family, he’s always gonna be family,” Fox said. “I love him to death. But there was just too much drama surrounding the circumstances.”
Fox went on to confirm that she keeps in touch with the beleaguered actor and hinted that he might be coming back to TV.
“Who knows? Don’t count him out,” she said. “Y’all may see him.”
How it all started
Smollett made national headlines by claiming in January that two masked men jumped him outside his Chicago apartment, calling him racist and homophobic slurs and shouting, “This is ‘MAGA’ country!”
Chicago police at first investigated the incident as a possible hate crime. Many other celebrities as well as activists, politicians and journalists rushed to condemn not just the attackers but the supposed state of President Donald Trump’s America.
However, in February, police arrested Smollett and charged him with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly orchestrating the attack as a publicity stunt. Fox cut ties with the actor and removed him from the final two episodes “Empire” Season 5, which was canceled after one more season.
Smollett, for his part, has maintained his innocence and continued to claim that he is being persecuted. Last month, he lashed out at online commentators for suggesting he inspired a 12-year-old black student who in September admitted to lying about being attacked by her white classmates.