As reported, Smollett wasn’t invited to be on “Empire’s” sixth and final season after Chicago police accused him of staging a hate crime attack, then leading them on a wild goose chase.
Earlier this month, during a separate interview, Howard said Smollett no longer being on-set “hurts.” And during his stop at “Extra” on Tuesday, he showed some of that pain by shedding a tear.
“Jussie has been the heart of the show,” said Howard. “He’s been my son for six years, and I miss my son.”
That’s when a tear fell from Howard’s eye, and he grabbed a tissue before explaining why he was so emotional.
“We can’t help it,” he stated. “This is real life we’re talking about, we’re not talking about dingleberries and apple sauce.”
In March, Smollett received a 16-count indictment after police said he lied about the attack. The actor told them in January that two white men beat him, tied a noose around his neck and poured a liquid substance on him. Smollett, who’s Black and identifies as gay, also said his attackers yelled racial and homophobic slurs.
The charges were eventually dropped on March 26, but last month a Chicago judge appointed a special prosecutor to reopen the case and, depending on what he finds, Smollett could be slapped with the same charges all over again.
He’s also being sued by the CPD for $130,000, which they say is the amount spent investigating his claims.
Smollett lawyer William J. Quinlan filed a motion in August and said his client shouldn’t be made to pay that money back, because he had no control over what police spent during their investigation.