‘Empire’ Star Terrence Howard Was Almost Fired From the Show, Lawsuit Says

Authentic Talent and Literary Management has sued former client Howard, alleging breach of oral contract and owed commission

Last Updated: August 2, 2016 @ 4:55 PM

“Empire” star Terrence Howard has been sued by his former management company Authentic Talent and Literary Management, which claims that it saved the actor from getting fired from the Fox hit drama, according to papers filed Tuesday in Los Angeles.

The complaint, stems from what Authentic calls Howard’s “breach of contract and wrongful refusal” to pay “substantial sums of money” owed “in connection with his compensation from the Fox television show ‘Empire.'”

Representatives for Howard did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment.

The lawsuit claims Howard owes Authentic several hundreds of thousands of dollars, though the sum continues to accrue with each episode of the show.

According to the suit, Howard hired Authentic to be his talent manager in the summer of 2013, at which point the company came to play “a key role in the resurgence of Howard’s career.” In particular, Authentic claims that it was “an integral part of many discussions with Howard that led to his acceptance of the starring role of ‘Lucious Lyon’ on ‘Empire’ that had previously been procured for him by CAA.”

Authentic cites one incident during which it “intervened with the Los Angeles-based executives of Imagine and effectively saved Howard ‘s job on ‘Empire’ by convincing those executives not to terminate Howard from the show.”

Though Howard ultimately fired the management company, the lawsuit refers to a September 2014 e-mail from the actor, wherein he said through a representative that Authentic “will however be paid until the end of Terrence’s present contract with ‘Empire.'”

Howard’s contract with “Empire” is for seven seasons. Authentic also alleges in the lawsuit that Howard had been paying them a 10 percent commission for episodes in Season 1 and early Season 2, but after one late payment in March 2016, he stopped paying them and refused to pay them any further.

The lawsuit is the latest in a myriad of legal filings around Fox’s blockbuster hit. In March, producers and studio were sued for copyright infringement, while show creator Lee Daniels apologized to actor Sean Penn as part of a settlement of a suit Penn filed against him for defamation, claiming that the filmmaker smeared him in an article discussing the domestic abuse allegations against Howard.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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