Fox Chief Charlie Collier: Attack on ‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett a ‘Tragic Thing’

TCA 2019: “It amazing how many times we’ve had to comment on sad incidents,” former AMC chief says

Last Updated: February 6, 2019 @ 12:15 PM

New Fox Entertainment boss Charlie Collier briefly commented Wednesday on the reported attack on “Empire” star Jussie Smollett.

“First of all, in any situation like that, the first thing I want to say is that my heart goes out to Jussie and everyone involved,” Collier said Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour. “It really is just a tragic thing.”

“It’s amazing how many times we’ve had to comment on sad incidents,” the former AMC chief mentioned, seemingly as more of an aside on the state of our collective union here in Hollywood and beyond.

“He’s an important and so talented a member of the Fox family,” Collier continued, back on Smollett specifically. “There is an ongoing criminal investigation, so I won’t go deeper than that except to say it’s been really gratifying to see the creative team rallying around him.”

When pressed on the future of Smollett’s program, Collier said he did not have any announcement (yet) to share regarding another season of his hit hip-hop drama.

Chicago police said Smollett was walking on Jan. 28 when two people started yelling racist and homophobic slurs at the actor/musician. The offenders then “began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim,” and one put a rope around his neck, according to police. Smollett later told detectives his attackers yelled about “MAGA,” referring to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

On Saturday, Smollett told fans at West Hollywood’s Troubadour club that he’s recovering.

“I’m not fully healed yet but I’m going to and I’m going to stand strong with y’all. I had to be here tonight,” he told the audience, choking back tears. “I couldn’t let those motherf—ers win!”

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