Pasadena, Calif. — Domestic abuse allegations against Fox’s Empire star Terrence Howard were front and center Saturday as both Howard and network execs were pressed at the TCA winter press tour on the topic.
“I’ve grown so much from anything that’s happened in the past,” said Howard, fielding a question during the Empire panel about wether he thought the allegations played a role in his casting.
“I don’t think they took any of that stuff into consideration,” he added. “I think they looked at the talent and power of right now and this moment and how people have grown and where they’re going to. And I embrace that and I’m so thankful to them for doing that.”
The additional panelists were quick to jump in with applause and praise for Howard’s remarks.
“He’s our leader,” said Daniels, who worked with Howard on Lee Daniels’ The Butler. “He has been front and center taking bullets for all of us and I am so proud to be working with him.”
Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman were asked about Howard during the network’s executive session earlier Saturday.
“We’ve been working with Terrence now for just about a year, and it’s been just a fantastic experience,” said Walden. “He’s a leader among that cast. He’s been so hard working, and he’s just been a great partner to us.”
She added that she and Newman didn’t find out about the allegations, which were widely reported on in the run up to Lee Daniels’ The Butler in 2013, until December and they did not factor into the decision to hire him. Howard is also set to appear in Fox's upcoming miniseries Wayward Pines.
The criticism comes amid the fallout from mounting sexual abuse allegations against Bill Cosby.
NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt spoke out Friday about the network’s decision to axe the Cosby comedy they had in development.
“Fifteen women came out and accused him [Cosby] of what they accused him of,” said Greenblatt. “We’d heard some of those accusations and we knew there were a couple of settlements and what not. It didn’t seem to be the sort of thing that was critical mass. When we realized that there seemed to be so much more of it, it wasn’t something where we could be like ‘Oh, we’re not sure.’”