Malik Yoba Fired From 'Empire' Over Drug Use, Say Sources

By May Wilkerson 03/23/15

A source close to the show said that Yoba was back on drugs and making everyone "uncomfortable."

Malik Yoba

Malik Yoba was fired from hit show Empire over his drug use, sources are claiming. Yoba’s character, Vernon Turner, was killed off the popular Fox show in its season finale and insiders are saying the move was prompted by the actor’s disruptive substance abuse.

“Malik Yoba is back on drugs and he was making everyone on the set uncomfortable,” said a source close to the show, who claimed one star even threatened to quit. “Fox caught wind of what was going on and gave [series co-creator] Lee Daniels an ultimatum: ‘You tell Malik he’s fired or we will,’” said the source. “Fox also threatened to shelve the show indefinitely if Daniels didn’t do as he was told. So he did, and the rest is history.”

In an interview following the finale, Yoba said he was surprised about the decision to have his character terminated. “To this day, I don’t know—in the infinite wisdom—who thought it was the best approach, but someone did. I never got a clear answer on it,” Yoba told TMZ, insisting the decision was creative, not personal. “It wasn’t about the work or ethics or work ethics. It was the plot line,” he said.

Neither Yoba nor Lee Daniels have addressed the unverified rumor that the firing was drugs-related. And Empire producers say the character was killed off to enhance the plot.

Yoba seems confident about his future after the show. “Vernon’s gone, but Malik lives on,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to push forward the work that I’m doing in terms of building my own empire, if you will.”

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.