“Empire” star Jussie Smollett was up for an NAACP Image Award this year for his role on the Fox musical drama, but the embattled actor ultimately did not take home the prize on Friday night.
Smollett’s category, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, was one of those awarded at the nominees’ dinner on Friday night ahead of Saturday’s live ceremony. Smollett was topped by Jesse Williams of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
According to ABC News, Smollett was not present for the dinner despite reports that he had traveled to Los Angeles, where the dinner was being held. It remains to be seen if Smollett will make an appearance at Saturday’s main event, which is set to air on TV One.
“In light of the charges being dropped, I think it [would be] a good thing for him, I think it’s a good thing for their show, and why not come be celebrated with his peers and his community?” host Anthony Anderson said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight ahead of the show.
Smollett had previously been accused by Chicago police of paying two men to stage a Jan. 31 hate crime to gin up public attention because he was dissatisfied with his pay on “Empire.” Prosecutors initially charged him with 16 felony counts related to filing a false police report, but those charges were dropped after the actor served two days of community service and forfeited his $10,000 cash bond payment to the city.
In an op-ed published on Saturday, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx maintained that the actor has neither been “found innocent” nor “exonerated” despite her office’s decision not to pursue the charges.
The full list of NAACP Image Awards winners will be announced on Saturday’s show, which will be broadcast live from the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles at 9 p.m. ET.