Empire is certainly a show that is known for its drama, and it’s behind-the-scenes life looks to be no different.
Deadline has reported that Fox’s show Empire is once again under legal strain; this time for using a large amount of a real penitentiary during the filming of season two. Terrence Howard’s character on the show, Lucious Lyon, got into some hot water and was sent to prison, according to their storyline. To maintain an air of accuracy for the filming of the prison, Empire elected to do so at a Chicago juvenile detention center.
Ultimately, the Empire filming ended up taking place in and/or using the recreation yard, chapel, and library, forcing the residents of the juvenile detention center to stay in their cells or the cramped dayroom. The Empire shoot also allegedly needed the attention of several staff members, thus making it impossible for the children to attend school. Filming took place on three separate occasions in 2015; June 21-26, July 13-16, and August 23-26, and it is reported by Deadline that Terrence Howard and Chris Rock were filming scenes during that period of time.
The huge class action lawsuit is led by two anonymous teenagers who supplied these dates and were former residents of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center; they are referred to as T.S. and Q.B. for these proceedings. The class action suit names Twentieth Century Fox Television, Inc., Fox Networks Group, Inc., Fox Broadcasting Company, Inc., Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., Fox Entertainment Group, Inc., and Fox Television Group as defendants, alongside Cook County, the superintendent of the center, Leonard Dixon, and anonymous others. The actors do not appear to be named themselves.
“The actions, omissions, and conduct of the Defendants as set forth in this complaint were extreme and outrageous,” the filing of the lawsuit explains. The lawsuit requires recompense for the stress the residents were under by seeking the profits Fox made from the episodes that aired on September 23 and 30, which used the footage from the center, and had a large audience viewing.
This is among a small list of lawsuits that Empire has had to deal with over its short run. As of last week, a federal judge rejected Lee Daniels’ and Danny Strong’s request to dismiss a case by Sophia Eagleton, which alleges that Taraji P. Henson’s fierce character Cookie Lyon is based on her and her memoir that was published in 2009. Additionally, Terrence Howard is under fire by his former managers over what they say are unpaid Empire commissions.
Even with all the legal trouble in tow, Season 3 of Empire is due to premiere on September 21.