Terrence Howard confused the hell out of many in a recent Rolling Stone profile. In it, Howard was way too candid about his, uh, very interesting and challenging life. Such is his right. However, when it came to discussion of his past accusations of violence, I wish he had simply offered a thoughtful apology or suddenly misplaced his tongue. Unfortunately, Howard did discuss the various allegations leveled against him over the years, and claims the reputation it’s spawned help influence him to play Lucious Lyon on Empire.
“Since they see me as a bad guy,” he explains, “I’m gonna play a bad guy.”
These allegations would include: being escorted off a plane for unruly behavior; punching out strangers in a restaurant; physically abusing at least two women, including two ex-wives.
But, apparently we should boohoo for Lucious.
In a separate Hollywood Reporter profile, it is revealed that Howard has reduced his press availability—one Rolling Stone write-up too late, but I suppose better late than ever. Howard’s co-stars were reportedly advised not to comment on Howard’s troubles, including his issues over a settlement with his ex-wife. But director/Empire creator Lee Daniels opted otherwise.
“That poor boy,” Daniels said of the actor.
Daniels went on to say, “[Terrence] ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he’s some fu*kin’ demon. That’s a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America.”
Such a claim immediately makes me think of remarks Chris Brown made in 2008, after he was said to have tossed a chair at a window following his interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. Brown did not like being asked about his physically assaulting Rihanna, so he tweeted and subsequently deleted the following message: “I’m so over people bringing this past s**t up!!! Yet we praise Charlie Sheen and other celebs for [their] bulls**t.”
At the time, I acknowledged Chris Brown had a point, but wrote: “Unfortunately, life isn’t fair, and one would think that a millionaire, of all people, would realize that. We can’t often control what life hands us, but our real power lies in our reaction to whatever we’re dealt. It’s time that Brown accepts what he’s done and the reality that he’ll never fully be able to escape it.”
In other words, don’t hide behind racism to deflect from your misogyny.