A recent sexually charged scene on Empire
Rapper 50 Cent has suggested that the hit series Empire is losing viewers because it is too focused on gay characters and themes.
The American show has been a major success for the Fox network and has been praised for its representation of LGBT issues in the African American community.
The first season saw the homophobic head of Empire Entertainment, Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), dealing with his gay son, Jamal (Jussie Smollett), who came out during the course of the series.
While the recent first episode of the second series drew more than 16 million viewers, the second episode’s viewership dropped 18 percent to 13.7 million.
50 Cent, who is executive producer of the competing drama Power, has implied he knows why that happened.
He shared another Instagram user’s post, which read: “There are 3 million less viewers who tuned into last night’s Empire episode!!!! did you watch it? We could not take the extra gay stuff or celebrity stuff last night!!!!”
After he came under attack, 50 Cent deleted the post and wrote: “Empire’s ratings took a huge hit. Okay I’ll stop now. Cookie call me baby. I’ll tell every body to watch the show for you.”
The Hollywood Reporter, however, said the ratings drop was unlikely to represent a loss of viewers and was probably due to people choosing to watch the second episode at a later date.
The show’s openly gay creator, Lee Daniels, has stated that one of his aims with the drama was to address “homophobia” that “is rampant in the African American community.”