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'Empire' Star Mug Shot Released

4/10/2017 8:14 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Morocco Omari's mug shot looks worlds away from his gig on "Empire" ... where he's usually the one taking in the suspects.

Morocco -- who plays FBI agent Tariq Cousins on the show -- was arrested and booked last Wednesday in Chicago for misdemeanor domestic battery after he allegedly pushed a woman to the ground several times.

The 24-year-old victim claims she suffered scratches to her neck and chest, which were enough for cops to take him in.

Morocco denies the allegations.

'Empire' Star Morocco Omari Arrested for Domestic Violence

4/6/2017 6:38 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Morocco tells us, "I am deeply saddened by the recent reports and want to say I do not condone nor participate in any forms of violence. While this is an ongoing legal matter, I am unable to further comment. Thank you to my friends, family and fans for your continued support." 

His publicist, Tim Yates, calls the claims "blatantly false" and adds, "violence against women simply isn't in Omari's DNA." Yates is confident cops will vindicate his client.Morocco Omari, an actor on "Empire" who plays Lucious' half-brother, has been arrested for allegedly brutalizing a woman ... TMZ has learned.

Law enforcement sources tell us, a 24-year-old woman called 911 in Chicago Wednesday, claiming she and Omari were arguing when he pushed her to the ground several times. She said she suffered scratches to her neck and chest.

Cops arrived on scene at around 2:30 PM, apparently observed the injuries and arrested the actor.  

Omari, who plays an FBI agent on the show, was booked for misdemeanor domestic battery.

Taraji P. Henson & Nia Long Beef Started with Bloody Joke

3/24/2017 12:40 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Taraji P. Henson jokingly asked Nia Long if she was on her period after she went nuts on a fellow cast member ... and that's what set off their raging feud on the set of "Empire."

Production sources tell TMZ ... Nia showed up late shortly after beginning her stint on the show, prompting one of the male actors to joke, "Damn, why are you on black people time?"

We're told that sent Nia into a rage ... chewing the guy out. The actor told her it was just a joke but she continued berating him ... and that's when Taraji fired back -- "What are you, on your period? Is it that time, girlfriend?"

Things got super heated ... and it set the tone for a relationship that was barely civil. Taraji has always been super protective of the cast and crew and everyone was in her corner.

TMZ broke the story ... the hair and makeup crew filed a complaint against Nia for mistreating them. She maintains the allegations are bogus.

Nia Long 'Empire' Hair and Makeup Lodged Complaint Nia Threatened Suit

3/23/2017 1:00 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Nia Long was such a nightmare on the set of "Empire" ... the hair and makeup folks lodged an official complaint against her, and Nia also threatened to sue the show over an improper goodbye ... this according to well-placed production sources.

Multiple people -- cast, crew and production people -- tell TMZ Nia was disrespectful and unprofessional throughout her run on the show.

We broke the story ... Nia and Taraji P. Henson were at war with each other because Taraji was irate over the way Nia treated the staff, and it got so bad producers were trying to figure out how to shoot scenes with the two of them where each actress did their part separately. It was so tense neither would speak to the other.

The various sources are scoffing at Nia's reps, who claim the stories about the actress are made up. Our sources say there were numerous incidents, but 3 are still vivid.

-- Our sources say in the history of the show the hair and makeup people have only filed one formal complaint for mistreatment ... and that was against Nia. The hair and makeup people say she was extremely disrespectful ... at times deciding she didn't like her look at the last minute and then chewing them out. The sources say there have been numerous guest appearances on the show -- "from rappers to Demi Moore, and no complaints were lodged against anyone but Nia."

-- Our sources say Nia was "habitually late." They say Taraji and Terrence Howard would sometimes be waiting on set for 30 minutes and Nia was a no-show. Producers would finally use a stand-in for Nia so Taraji and Terrence could rehearse a scene.

-- It is custom on the set when guest stars finish their last scene for the Assistant Director to call it out ... "This is (name of actor) last scene," followed by a "thank you" and applause. When Nia did her last scene, Terrence was having some sort of allergic reaction and his lip began swelling. The A.D. was looking for Benadryl when Nia left. It's unclear if the A.D. was distracted or just didn't want to thank Nia, but we're told as Nia walked out she told someone in production she was going to sue the show because the "goodbye" was in her contract. Production sources say it was not in her contract.

We spoke with one actor on the show who said the experience was so unpleasant they would never work with her again.

We reached out to Nia's rep, who said, "We stand by our comments this morning that Nia has always, and continues to be, a consummate professional on set. In respect to her working relationships with the cast, she came onto this project, in the first place, because of her long-standing friendship and professional relationship with Terrence Howard."

The rep went on to say, "We are not aware of any complaint, suit or case against her from anyone involved in the show, and we find the timing of all of these stories to be very suspicious, given that the series returns tonight."

Taraji P. Henson, Nia Long At War on 'Empire' Set

3/22/2017 11:00 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Taraji P. Henson and Nia Long were at each other's throats on the set of "Empire" in such a big way ... producers almost had to shoot the scenes they were in together ... separately.

Multiple production sources tell TMZ, Nia was extremely rude to the people in hair, makeup and wardrobe -- something Nia's people strongly deny -- which pissed Taraji off something fierce. 

We're told it got to the point they stopped speaking to each other when they were on set. Our sources say it was next to impossible to film the scenes they did together, and that's why they had actually blocked out how to shoot those scenes separately.

Nia played a recurring role in season 3, which has wrapped. Her character was an ex of Lucious Lyon, who was in the process of getting back with Cookie.

As for whether Nia will be back for season 4, our sources say no way in hell. 

Nia's rep tells TMZ, "This story is complete nonsense. Throughout her long, established career, Nia has been nothing but a consummate professional treating all members of productions with respect."

The rep goes on, "This is nothing but another complete fabrication about a series that has been plagued by constant rumors of drama and misconduct."

'Empire' Star 50 Cent Needs Hugs ... And a Shrink's Couch

9/27/2016 1:05 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Cookie's assistant on "Empire" proved she's got her back in real life too by taking a jab at 50 Cent's mental health ... on the heels of him trash talking Taraji P. Henson.

Ta'Rhonda Jones, who plays Porsha on the show, came on "TMZ Live" to talk about the new season ... and addressed Fiddy's repeated shots at "Empire." Her take on it was pretty awesome -- she went right after the rapper/TV producer and flat out called him a "weirdo."

Taraji already went back at 50 after he claimed "Empire" ratings were slipping -- but she was kinda gentle about it. High road. Ta'Rhonda, on the other hand, lit into him and then gave him some advice.

'Empire' Sued by Juvie Prisoners ... You Blocked Us From School & God

8/25/2016 6:44 AM PDT

A couple of kids are trying to take down "Empire" -- or at least take some of the show's money -- for stopping them from getting an education ... behind bars.

The kids are teenage juvenile detention center inmates in Chicago ... and they say their home away from home was upset when Terrence Howard and Chris Rock swooped in last year to shoot scenes for season two's premiere episodes. 

According to them all the kids at Cook Co. Juvenile Temporary Detention Center were put on lockdown -- held in cells and pods -- during nearly 2 weeks of shooting. While in lockdown, they had no access to the rec yard, library, and chapel ... and family visits were interrupted.

The teens say their education was turned upside down too because although teachers were sent to cells and pods ... they say the tutoring was not effective. As they put it, "This was 'school' in name only," and often times "chaotic."

The teen inmates have boned up on TV accounting too -- they point out the "Empire" episodes made a ton of cash ... up to $750k per 30 second commercial, and they want a cut. They've filed the class action suit against FOX, Cook County and the warden.

FOX had no comment on the lawsuit.

'Empire' Stars Tied the Knot In Secret Island Wedding

4/16/2016 12:30 AM PDT

The Lyon family is gonna need another seat at the table ... because "Empire" co-stars Trai Byers and Grace Gealey tied the knot in a very real wedding.

The private ceremony and reception went down Thursday at a mansion on Grand Cayman Island ... the guest list was limited to close friends and relatives ... none of their "Empire" co-stars attended.

Guests dined in style -- steak and lobster -- and danced to hip-hop, disco and, of course, reggae.

#Congratulations

'Empire' Lawsuit Lee Daniels Screwed Me ... So I'm Making My Own 'Empire'

3/28/2016 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Ron Newt ... the former pimp who's suing Terrence Howard and Lee Daniels for jacking his life story to make "Empire" has created a reality version of the show, and he's shopping it around.

"The Newt Empire" follows Ron and his family full of music hopefuls as they try to make it in the biz -- and Ron tries to repair relationships he's destroyed over the years. Based on the promo reel ... Ron clearly thinks he's the real Lucious Lyon.

Unlike Lucious ... Newt doesn't have a white daughter-in-law. Instead his is a very light-skinned black woman -- but you've gotta see her describe her first meeting with Ron.

TMZ broke the story ... Newt filed a billion dollar lawsuit, claiming "Empire" went on the air after he pitched the idea to Terrence Howard. That case is ongoing, but for now Newt's just trying to find a TV home for his version.   

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard We'd Give Obama a Job!!!

1/13/2016 12:24 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard think we're absolutely crazy for even raising the question ... Would Obama take a job running a studio after he leaves office ... but if he's interested, they're hiring.

Brian and Ron appeared on "TMZ Live" Wednesday, and Brian made it clear ... the Prez is overqualified for the job.

BTW, Brian, the exec producer of "Empire," would absolutely offer Obama a role on his show, but being a Lucious hack won't cut it.

Catch the full interview on "TMZ Live." 

Brian Grazer I Want Obama on 'Empire'!!!

1/13/2016 6:35 AM PST

President Obama has an in when he leaves office if he wants a piece of "Empire."

Exec producer Brian Grazer never thought of it until our photog raised the question Tuesday outside Craig's in WeHo ... is there a place for the Prez on his show?

Grazer jumped at the idea, but talk about typecasting.

Transgender 'Housewife' Lands Role On 'Empire' Spin-Off

12/6/2015 1:00 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Amiyah Scott, the transgender woman who tried to get on "Real Housewives of Atlanta," is getting a bigger break now in Hollywood because she's been cast in the "Empire" spin-off.

Amiyah didn't make the 'RHOA' cut, but we're told all the transgender 'Housewife' buzz got her a call from "Empire" creator Lee Daniels in late August asking to read for his new show.

Our production sources say Daniels loved Amiyah's look and thought she'd be perfect for one of the singers in a girl group.

The spin-off is a prequel to "Empire," showcasing a young Cookie Lyon. 

We're assuming her look was more important than her acting chops ... she's never acted before, but she's getting a crash course with some acting coach hot shots.

Amiyah dropped a clue she was on to bigger things in her caption on a recent Twitter pic that read "next chapter."

Vivica A. Fox At War with 50 Cent Over 'Gay Stuff'

11/9/2015 7:39 AM PST

Vivica A. Fox fired the first shot at 50 Cent, and now he's launching missiles back at her -- after Vivica hinted he has issues with "gay stuff."

Vivica, who's guest starring on "Empire," was on "Watch What Happens: Live" ... and Andy Cohen brought up Fiddy's infamous Instagram re-post ... which claimed "Empire's" ratings decline was due to  "gay stuff."

Check out her dramatic pause before blurting out ... "The pot calling the kettle black, is all I'm gonna say."

She tried to backpedal a little, recalling good times when she dated 50 -- but then did even more damage by questioning his magazine cover shot with Soulja Boy.

50's fired back the way you'd expect, writing on IG ... "Now she thinks I'm gay because I let her lick my Ass. LMAO."

So far Vivica hasn't taken the bait to respond, but she's hinted ... "I've got some stories in my vault too!"

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