‘Empire’s Terrence Howard on assault allegations: “I have grown so much”

January 6, 2015. Terrence Howard poses at the "Empire" premiere party in Hollywood, California.

January 6, 2015. Terrence Howard poses at the "Empire" premiere party in Hollywood, California.  (Reuters)

“Jesus was nailed to the cross on allegations he was blasphemous,” "Empire" star Terrence Howard told TV critics this afternoon when asked if he wanted to address being among the celebrities facing allegations of violence particularly against women who have been “given a pass by show business.”

“We all know about Bill Cosby and Woody Allen” the critic said at a Q&A for the new Fox drama at Winter TV Press Tour 2015. “What to you have to say to critics?” the journalist said, noting Howard’s past arrests and the assault accusations against him over the years by various women he knew, and some he did not.

“We slayed our messiah under false allegations. We’ve got to give people a chance to show who they are,” Howard answered

He also said he was the “product of my environment,” of not knowing how to “deal with frustration,” and the “product of not knowing who Terrence Howard is.” Now married to a new wife and with a new baby, Howard insisted, “I have grown so much from anything that happened in the past.” He expressed gratitude to Fox for not taking “any of that stuff into consideration” adding, “they looked at the talent and the power of right now.”

“He’s our leader; he’s been front and center, taking bullets for all of us and I am so proud of working with him,” said show creator/writer/EP Lee Daniels, who’d come dressed in his trademark work outfit — pajamas.

The accusations against Howard came up this morning, during a Q&A with Fox Television Group chairs/CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman, when a TV critic asked them about Empire star being the subject of accusations of violence against women.

“We didn’t really become of any of this situation you’re talking about until December,” so “it wasn’t part of the conversation when we cast him,” Walden had responded.

When the critic noted a simple Google search would have turned up news reports on the subject long before that, Walden responded, “Well, I can only tell you when we became aware of it. At this point, we do know about them,” she said, but their experience with him has been fine.

“We’ve been working with Terrence now for just about a year and it’s been a fantastic experience,” she said.

“We cast Terrence because our executive producers Lee Daniels and Danny Strong and Brian Grazer thought that he was the best actor for that particular role,” Walden added.

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