(NewsSpace.com) – The television show “Empire,” which told the tale of the Lyon family and its record label, drew millions of viewers when it was on air. It ran for six seasons before its conclusion in 2020 and starred some notable names, particularly Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, and Jussie Smollett. Now, Howard, who played the series’ main character, Lucious Lyon, is suing his talent agency, claiming they didn’t do their due diligence in his contract negotiations.
On Friday, December 8, Howard held a press conference and outlined his claims against talent agency CAA, which he is suing for breach of fiduciary duty. The lawsuit, which he filed in Los Angeles Superior Court the same day, claims that the agency asked him to accept a lower salary, despite being the main character on the show and bringing his fame and previous success to the series.
Howard says he was left in the dark about the agency’s packaging fee and that the agency also represented “Empire’s” executive producers, co-creators, and other actors in the show, presenting a conflict of interest.
The complaint states that “had CAA not been concurrently representing the Production Companies […] they would have most certainly fought for Howard in a manner that most producers are accustomed to seeing.” It also points to the higher salaries of other actors who appeared in other series that didn’t perform as well, including Kevin Spacey while he appeared in “House of Cards” and Jon Hamm in “Mad Men.”
The actor also brought up the possibility of racial overtones, meaning he was offered less money because of the color of his skin, in an interview with Rolling Stone. The lawsuit does not request a specific amount but asks for punitive and compensatory damages.
More “Empire” Controversy
This isn’t the only controversy surrounding the television show. In 2019, Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon, the middle son of Lucious Lyon, claimed to have been attacked near his apartment in Chicago. He claimed they were MAGA supporters and the attack was racially motivated. Just over a month later, it came out that the alleged perpetrators were hired by Smollett, who was apparently upset over a threatening letter sent to him on the set of “Empire.”
Eventually, Smollett was arrested for felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. Then, in February 2020, he was indicted on six counts of the charge. A jury found him guilty of five of those six counts in December 2021. He was sentenced to 30 months of probation and ordered to serve the first 150 days of the sentence in prison.
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