Fired ‘Empire’ Actor Malik Yoba Hits Drugs Allegation

March 25, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Malik Yoba was fired from Empire for drugs, a rumor suggested, but the actor is fighting back in a very powerful way. Yoba has fired back after a drugs allegation hit the web, following his Empire exit. Days after a report surfaced claiming that Malik Yoba’s character, Vernon Turner, was killed off on Empire due to his alleged drug abuse problem, the veteran actor took to social media to say, stop spreading rumors about him.

Malik Yoba

Update March 24:

Malik Yoba fired back after a drugs allegation hit the internet. Days after Empire‘s season finale, where fans were shocked to see Malik Yoba’s character, Vernon Turner, better known as Uncle Vernon, murdered by Andre’s pregnant wife; rumors started swirling on the internet claiming that the star was booted off because of drugs.

Frustrated by the rumors, Malik Yoba fired back via Twitter where he asked people to spread love not rumors. He also told commentators not to confuse Vernon who used cocaine with Yoba. Mr Yoba wrote:

#Empire fans #Vernon Did The Coke Not Malik Yoba #spreadLOVEnotRUMORS

The religious star later shared an uplifting tweet that read:

“Be careful out there family, the devil is a liar trying to steal our joy with fear doubt and confusion. Stay the course of righteousness.”

Amen and Amen!! Happy Saturday Fam!! 🙏

A post shared by malikyoba (@malikyoba) on

Many of Malik Yoba’s fans rapidly flocked to Twitter to show support.


The headline “Empire’s Malik Yoba Fired, Drugs To Be Blamed” is trending. Malik Yoba always knew that his stay on Empire was going to be brief, but that does not mean he is thrilled to leave one of the most successful shows on television.

In the finale of Season 1 of Empire, Malik Yoba‘s character Vernon Turner, decided to visit Andre Lyon played by Trai Byers after his meltdown and their failed attempt to take the company from Terrence Howard‘s character Lucious Lyon/Dwight Walker.

Malik Yoba, aka Vernon Turner, even brought a little gift for the young man he helped raise and groom to become the head of Empire. But Vernon Turner should have known that you don’t mess with a bipolar man, who found and lost Jesus and was not picked by his father to be CEO of his billion dollar business and was dumped by his wife.

As Turner was trying to make peace with Mr Lyon, an epic fight broke out. During the brawl, Andre was pinned to the ground by Vernon, which is when his wife, Rhonda Lyon, played by Kaitlin Doubleday, walked in and hit him with what looked like a trophy on the head.

Poor man, he bled to death because Andre would not call the ambulance due to the fact that he had just learned that his wife is pregnant. At the end of the episode, we also learned that he was the snitch, who told the cops that Luscious killed Marcus “Bunkie” Campbell, Cookie’s cousin.

Few days after the episode aired, Malik Yoba did an interview with TMZ, where he shared the following information: While they were filming the eleventh episode he learned that he was going to get killed off in episode 12.

He was in Ferguson, Missouri raising money for an organization that helps young black men when series co-creator Lee Daniels, called and said that Fox demanded that he be dumped from the show.

Yoba stayed diplomatic and said he was sad to leave, but holds no grudges against Daniels. The veteran actor who is also a great singer and musician said:

“I had no idea.I found out two days before the show got picked up for a second season. In some ways, I wasn’t surprised because I didn’t feel the character had developed. He’s been on the fringes and hadn’t really been integrated into stories. We didn’t know anything about him. As an actor, I tried to make him as powerful and truthful as I could, whether it was with a look or quick word of monologue.”

He later appeared on The Combat Jack Show, where he blamed head writer Ilene Chaiken for getting him fired. The former New York Undercover actor, said:

“She runs the writer’s room, she’s in charge of hiring the directors and oversees the whole creative process of the show. So, I was definitely like ‘Dude? Really? There’s no way we can like… that’s the story.”

He went on to add that the writers should have done a better job with the character. Malik Yoba who is proud of his Muslim roots explained:

“It’s bad enough y’all haven’t written anything real significant that I can sink my teeth into.People don’t even know who Vernon was.”

Prior to getting fired and being hit with drug allegations, Malik Yoba stated that he loved working on the show and was happy that Vernon was a tough and complicated character. Yoba said at the time:

“It’s funny because when I read stuff on the page sometimes it reads like Vernon is supposed to be the yes-man. Something as simple as asking, “Who else knows about this?” after he tells me Anika (Grace Gealey) knows about his sickness. It’s very different to ask the question like, “Yo, who else knows, who knows?!” Like I’m threatening to f— you up if you tell me the wrong answer. There’s a way to play the scenes that give you what you feel. I’m not a yes-man and I don’t look at it as Vernon works for Lucious, even if the writers are like, “he works for Lucious.” We work together. In real life, even if you hire me to work for you, I’m gonna work with you. I’m just not built to be that dude, that yes-man. So that’s more the actor than the writer.”

Malik Yoba has not commented on the drugs allegation, he is instead focused on Iconic32, a company he co-founded, which helps promote and develop socially-driven art, music, fashion and technology. Iconic32 did consultancy work for Empire. There is a possibility that he may return to the show’s second season as a director. Yoba claimed that Daniels promised him the directing job and added:

“Directing for me is more about storytelling and how stories are told through visual mediums. I love to direct theater, too. I just like seeing things come together. It’s much more organic for me than like someone who has a background in photography so they understand lighting in a certain way, or someone who’s more like a painter. I don’t think I’m that type of director. I’m more about the look, the performance, and the storytelling. I love how visually things can look. I’ve directed web series, music videos, film shorts, and theater. It’s just a hat I put on.”

Fans are not happy about Malik Yoba’s messy exit from the show and they are blaming the network for not handling the situation differently. The outrage has taken a life of its own on social media.

What are your thoughts on Yoba’s comments? Did drugs get Malik Yoba fired?


Category: TV

Comments (68)

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  1. J. ANNA REID says:



    • Ann says:

      I like the show but I dont like all the male on male action. They really want to push the button. Life was a whole lot better when that acivity was in the closet. The children of this day and time cant help but be confused.

      • Sally Chairman says:

        So you are homophobic

        • Tony says:

          Just because a person does agree with the gay life style doesnt mean they are homophobic.

        • Justin Case says:

          I find it strange that because someone does not want to applaude a persons sexual behavior they are labeled “homophobic”. Why are “We the People” expected to praise someone because of the way they engage in sex? I don’t give a damn if someone is “queer” or straight, BUT I do care about those who participate in such wanting me to approve their sexual activities. It is not right nor logical that people are now expected to praise someones unusual sexual activities. It appears with all the media coverage that less then 2% of the American population, which is Homosexual, is getting so much attention that HOMOSEXUALITY is being presented as the preference for sexual behavior in this country. Homosexual are entitled to be treated as decent people, but they are not entitled to be honored for the way they F….
          I am done with Empire because they are starting to cast Negroes in a less then favorable light and that is not entertaining to me. Black families with a father in them are much stronger then the weak crap shown on Empire.

          • andy says:

            n8ggers are neggers and Obama and Al Sharpton will save him.
            just the way they saved ferguson.

          • Pettra Bleu says:

            Well said, Justin!

          • Yes says:

            PREACH JUSTIN!!! I agree 100%! Dont push that down our throats. You want to live that lifestyle..fine! But dont think that I have to applaud you for it. I have a right..JUST LIKE YOU DO…to say no..Im not feeling it!

          • Kim says:

            Yeah I don’t understand why when whites don’t want to associate with blacks they are labeled as racist.

        • Brian says:

          Is calling someone homophobic the same as calling someone f*ggot, honkey or nigg*r? Stop it with the labeling because someone has a different view of something! Bullying has changed shoes, and those choose have rainbow colors.

          • Ed says:

            That’s a good question Brian. I also am going to have to agree with your comment. The “Bullying has changed shoes and those shoes have rainbow colors”.

      • A says:

        U r just homophobic!! Which is very sad!!! If u don’t like it then DVR the show and fast forward thru those scenes!!! There is no reason people should have to start hiding who they really r in 2015!!! We r certainly not in the 50’s!!!!

        I mean really, be realistic and be loving to all!!!

        Also I believe that Jussie Smollett’s character is a great role model for those teens who r bullied so terribly at school they commit suicide, his character gives them hope that they too will be accepted in today’s society!!!!

        • Tony says:

          People use that word homophobic a little to much these days.If a person is free to be gay then a person is free to not like it.

        • Deiter Seven says:

          …actually you are heterophobic and think the world revolves around a gay life style when the reality is that as a homosexual you will always be in the minority so get the flock over it. The world doesn’t revolve around homosexuality, if it did we would be an extinct planet

          • MASTERMIND says:

            DEITER SEVEN

            YOU won that battle!

            “The world does not revolve around homosexuality! if it did we would be an EXTINCT(emphasis added) planet)

      • sam says:

        Malik Yoba fired cause of drugs??
        that is messed up, ni**a had a good job.
        now on well fare.

      • Marcus says:

        How ignorant is that to say? I mean really, the one on one male activity is only a replication of what goes on in today’s world the show is very realistic. Funny how there are countless of white shows that focus on gay men being flamboyant etc. but they don’t get any slack but when a black show, depicts a gay man showing himself in that way then people want to criticize. As far as keeping that in the closet, its that type of behavior that has caused the hiv/aids epidemic to get out of hand, its because of that mentality men feel like they need to be downlow and put women’s lives in danger. Your ignorance and backwoods way of thinking should be kept in the damn closet. If you don’t like what is on the show then don’t watch it.

        • jack sprat says:

          Set aside the whole having sex with men thing, because that’s not what it’s mostly about. It’s the EFFEMINACY issue that seems most to offend so many black folks. They take it personally, as an insult to their own/collective racial/sexual identity/mythology. Frankly, I sympathize. The entire ‘sweetness’ presentation is deliberately provocative. Don’t complain when it elicits reactions other than the ones that you would like.

        • david says:

          Marcus you are an idiot.

      • CAB says:

        I agree they can go into a room next scene talking in bed; that goes for both women and man/man on man. How they do sex is a waste of time that can be used towards the written plot.

      • #YesISaidIt says:

        I’m glad that type of stuff irritates someone else besides me. God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. I’m just saying!

        • Frencey says:


        • Joe says:

          I am glad there are still some sensible people in this country. Very soon pedophiles will start their own show too. When you talk against their lunacy, you are homophobic. I hope the homomaniacs will support the pedophiles and other sex deviants when they produce their show. Lord have mercy!

      • #YesISaidIt says:

        I’m glad that someone else is irritated just as I am about having that type stuff shoved down your throat.

      • Keith says:

        Ann – the ‘children of today’ are far more aware than someone like you will ever give them credit for. ‘Life was ‘a whole lot better when the ‘acivity’ (misspelling yours) was in the closet’. Just who the hell are you speaking for? You’re entitled to your comment like everyone else I guess, but leave your abject and irritating homophobia out of it. Daniels and his writers do’t write the show in a ‘closet’ so to speak – there are a myriad of producers and standards that they have to adhere to. The least of which is telling a compelling story that will engage viewers and drive revenue up through advertising.They must be doing something right as with each successive episode of ‘Empire’, the ratings went up. What you can do as a viewer is switch channels if the storytelling offends your personal sensibilities or failing that- go out and get a bloody education about oppressed minorities across the spectrum. Welcome to 2015 Ann. Lord.

    • Romney says:

      Speak for your self–“Your” first lady..Some of us voted for the American.

      • Eroc says:

        You are not very bright. There have been first ladies of presidents whom I did not vote but they were still “my” first lady upon inauguration. This is the crap that is wrong with the country. We will always be fighting and there will be no progress. Instead of working with who is in office we will be plotting and subverting the person in office until our guy gets there.

        • jsksss says:

          I agree 100%! We don’t always have to agree with whoever is president, but the level of hatred and disrespect shown to President Obama has been unparalleled since he was first elected! If the people doing this think the world is not watching and some using it to their advantage, then, they are blind, self-serving & helped America lose its status in the world arena.

          • Mickey! says:

            @jsksss,I agree with your statement! As a African American living in Germany for the last 9 years, I had never heard one of my German friends say anything negative about President Obama. Actually they were proud that we finally elected a Black President in the USA. I personally feel if the president would have been Hispanic or Asian they would have receive the same treatment and disrespect as President Obama! In Germany I live near a Air Force Base and Army Base! You would be surprise or even imagine what White Service personnel, Officers and Enlisted say about their Commander In Chief! I’m am appalled considering that I have served under numerous presidents and never displaced my anger towards them publicly. He has been the most disrespected President and First Lady in my lifetime and I was born in 1949. He deserves respect like any other president trying to do their jobs and you can either accepted it or leave the country until his time is OVER!!!!!! 2015-2017 this is when he move from the White House, but at the moment it is the Black House.

        • jack sprat says:

          Progressives spent the eight years of the Dubya Presidency heaping disdain upon the man and constantly casting aspersions upon his legitimacy. Y’all called the tune; now, it’s your turn to dance.

      • tiffany says:

        Excuse me so now the President and his wife are not American. Then what are they? The last time I checked you had to be American to be President

    • George LJ says:

      J.Anna Reid: get a life. This is acting. That young lady has a right to voice her opinion just as you just did. Who cares if you don’t watch it anymore? Do you think your one little point will matter to the tens of millions who will continue to watch in spite of your silly reason for not? Go sit down, honey.

    • Ja Bruin says:


    • Eroc says:

      was Raven supposed to join the show?

    • t.h. says:

      I agree with you. She is the epitome of a confused black female.

  2. KimberlyDi says:

    Isn’t that called method acting?

  3. SAM says:

    Enjoy the show but hope Lee Daniels is not the counterpart to Shondra Rhimes cause her 3 shows enjoys pushing the gay/lesbian sex down our throats. Nobody ain’t got time for that!!!!

    • George LJ says:

      Sam: you mean “no one has time for that!” Wow, what schools did you people attend?

      • G Crawford says:

        @George…the writer, Sam, was quoting a post that was on Facebook about a crazy woman whose apartment was on fire and she had to leave. She said, “Aint nobody got time for that.” So, you don’t know this person why are you trying to school him?

    • Eroc says:

      have you been watching? It already has the son.

  4. Ivan Cohen says:

    Malik’s character gets killed off. If this is supposed part of a plot line, why is the so-called drug use angle being brought into the mix? The explanation behind Yoba’s firing is so lame that a walker, a wheel chair, a pair of crutches and a telethon are needed to prop it up. Sounds like a cover-up, someone is advancing his or her agenda. I would thought that Lee Daniels was up on his “a” game to see behind the okie doke.

  5. Shawn says:

    I thought the killing of his character was premature. Also, the talk escalated to a fight so quickly. hmmm…..hopeefully he is not on drugs.

  6. Marc says:

    How sad ! This man was given a chance in, life not many get to obtain. A TV series that im sure is to go down in the books of TV history. What does he do? F’s it up by using DRUGS ????? One word for this guy……FOOL !!

  7. Queenie says:

    I can hardly believe how quickly people buy into a story line set up by Fox Media. A Black man and doing drugs, these comments just took it an ran. Not really examining the backstory. Lee Butler was told by Fox to fire him or we will and if we have to fire him, we will shelve this show. Lee Butler has no backbone. He will and does not fight for anything. He is all about the $$$ Maybe Monique was right. As Lee has “play the game.” Well he plays the game better than anyone I know. As for Malik, the show needed a big “die” at the end and he was not a protected player. While the show is a good one, Lee Butler has proven that he is no more than a puppet and does whatever Daddy Fox tells him to do.

  8. stephen says:

    SAM, why are you wasting your time with any of this? why don’t you google 10 things “Yahweh” means or is just your way of saying your jewish by posting that as your pic? tetrad, September 13. 2015 and #je suis juif are also things you might wanna research as well. GOD bless you Sam.

  9. jennifer jenkins says:

    1. Raven-Symone’ feels that it is okay that someone referred to OUR first lady as a monkey. That is not okay. Members of other countries show respect for those who in power. Not the US and that is sad. I could never imagine being disrespectful to any of our Presidents and their families. I voted, I lost and I learned to either respectfully agree or disagree with the choices made because I am not the one chosen to make those difficult choices. Yes, it could be that I am a veteran and we understand what loyalty truly means.
    2. If he did drugs in my company he would be fired. This position should be no different. Get help and move on.
    3. Ann and the others on this comment list should understand that being homosexual does not mean less than. I am not gay, but I absolutely respect those who are. Our children and grandchildren will not be ‘confused’ because this is their new normal. The confusion will occur when individuals who are afraid of others receiving their long overdue rights provide their children with their ignorance. This is not to be mean but true. Children of today who believe that Black Americans are ‘less than’ believe so because ignorant adults tell them so. Children who are bi-racial are accepted in school by other children because they are just that, children. In the 60’s this was not so. This is what is happening today with bright, beautiful children who are being raised in gay households, many of which are much better than heterosexual households.

    Be blessed. Oh, and by the way, the bible has many, many statements about what is or is not sinful, many of which the readers of this list have done at one time or another. It is our Lord God who will judge us on judgment day, not man. Please do not reply with your idiot ‘the bible says’ rhetoric.

    • Pettra Bleu says:

      Jennifer, your point is well stated. I hope that no one feels entitled to “judge” homosexuals, but comfortable expressing their dissatisfaction for the very activity the bible says is an abomination to God. There’s not way to change that. Respecting a homosexual does not mean accepting the activity. Your comfort should not be my discomfort. Criticizing is assessing, judging is condemning. I don’t think the terms are interchangeable.

      Be well.

  10. jennifer jenkins says:

    I forgot one more thing.

    Raven-Symone’ is a gay woman enjoying many of the promises fought for by our sitting president. I am quite sure that he was up many nights with his wife discussing his decision. She should be a bit more respectful.

  11. CAB says:

    People need to stop calling people homophobic who dislike seeing Man on Man or Woman on Woman in television series. People have the right not to appreciate homosexuality as well as the homosexual has the right not to be put in a closet. But no one has the RIGHT to harm a person for their personal views.

  12. Jules says:

    This is all hear say about Malik on drugs – You cannot believe everything you hear.

  13. Snoopyce says:

    I always look for where the money is flowing from; are we surprise that this happen it is Fox network whose owner is Rupert Murdoch who hates our president. The man got the boot because he was helping young black men in MO; period! The agenda of homoseuality is being put foward to effeminate all black men period; please do your research!! When you are done researching then make your comments!!

  14. Tigergrl says:

    This is the beginning of Hollywood blackballing him. Because he spoke against a White writer and Lee Daniels he may not work again. If he were on drugs and that was why he was fired he wouldn’t have spoken out against them because he knew they would tell why. This is lie.

  15. Thuggie says:

    Really? A show about a group of thugs played by thugs? This is tv? Just go to the S. side of Chicago and you can watch them live. Oh, and a black getting fired for drugs? That is silly as I am sure they are all thuggies and druggies……

  16. TL.. says:

    Malik Yoba did a interview and called out fellow actor,
    Jussie smollett as being gay before he actually came out the
    closet….This i believed lead to him being fired….

  17. Missee says:

    T.L That’s it!

  18. E says:

    Instead of everyone focusing on the gay phobias, the drugs and the men being used unfairly, how about we just watch the show. I am sorry that Malik Yoba was killed off but that’s Hollywood and if it makes a good story line fine. Maybe, they will have flashbacks on season 2 while Lucious/Dwight is in jail and we will see how he came to be Uncle Vernon. Maybe, if we all petition Fox like others have done in the past his character can be resurrected.
    The show is a good show, the characters are typical in a dog eat dog world. It basically shows how Tupac may have gotten into trouble or Biggie because people were jealous of the talent. Crime against a rival happens all the time, women stand by their men like “Cookie” did and of course, gets the blame.
    There is so much talent and good music and a message, so let’s find the message and stay on point.
    Remember if you don’t like something speak out to the people who own the studios, run the shows, boycott, its your right as a citizen.
    Stop arguing with each other on this forum.

  19. Lois says:

    Too bad about Malik Yoba, being let go from the show. Good actor and nice looking man. His character could have gone far. Hope to see him in something again soon.

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