Taraji P. Henson fired her entire team for slacking after ‘Empire’ success: ‘Where is my deal?’

Taraji P. Henson means business.

In a recent interview with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, the actress revealed she fired her entire team after they failed to capitalize on her “Empire” success when the show ended in 2020.

“Everybody had to f—kin’ go,” she quipped while speaking with Variety’s Angelique Jackson.

Henson, who played Cookie Lyon for six seasons on the hit Fox drama, further explained that she thought she would have had abundant opportunities following the series’ conclusion.

Instead, she was severely underwhelmed.

“Where is my deal? Where’s my commercial? Cookie was at the top of the fashion game. Where is my endorsement? What did you have set up for after this?” she reasoned.

“That’s why you all haven’t seen me in so long. They had nothing set up.”

“Where is my deal? Where’s my commercial? … What did you have set up for after this?” she said in an interview for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. YouTube/@SAGAFTRAFoundation
“That’s why you all haven’t seen me in so long. They had nothing set up,” she added. YouTube/@SAGAFTRAFoundation

The Oscar-nominated star, 53, conceded that she was willing to work with her team after they told her it would be in her best interest to have “another Cookie show.”


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“I said, ‘I’ll do it, but it has to be right. … She’s too beloved for y’all to f—k it up,’” she recalled.

Henson starred on “Empire” as Cookie Lyon between 2015 and 2020. Photographer: Chuck Hodes

She continued, “And so, when they didn’t get it right, I was like, ‘Well, that’s it,’ and they had nothing else.”

“You’re all f—kin’ fired,’” she added with an unapologetic expression on her face before receiving a round of applause from the audience.

During that same interview, Henson candidly spoke about the pay inequality she and her black colleagues have to fight against in Hollywood.

The actress also spoke about the pay disparity for black women in Hollywood. Jordan Hinton/Image Press Agency/MEGA

“I put in the work in so that I could have a voice, so that I could say no [to unfair offers], so that I could fight for those coming in behind me,” she explained.

“You can’t just pay me anything ’cause I’ll say no.”

She shared a similar sentiment last week while speaking to Gayle King on SiriusXM as she got emotional over the unfair treatment of black women in the entertainment industry.

“I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do [and] getting paid a fraction of the cost,” she told Gayle King on SiriusXM last week. GC Images

“I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do [and] getting paid a fraction of the cost,” she said.

“I’m tired of hearing my sisters saying the same thing over and over.”

The “Color Purple” star further explained, “I’m only human and it seems every time I do something and I break another glass ceiling, when it’s time to renegotiate I’m at the bottom again like I never did what I just did.”

“I’m tired of hearing my sisters saying the same thing over and over,” she added. GC Images

“And if I can’t fight for them coming up behind me then what the f—k am I doing?” she questioned tearfully.

She also pointed out that actors only take home a small portion of their salaries because their team takes a cut of their earnings.

“Off the top, Uncle Sam is getting 50 percent. … Your team is getting 30 percent … off what you gross, not after what Uncle Sam took,” she said. “Now do the math.”

Henson previously revealed in a 2019 chat with Variety that she got paid $150,000 for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” after asking for $500,000. Photographer: Chuck Hodes

Henson has been a longtime advocate for getting paid what she’s worth.

In 2019, she revealed to Variety that she negotiated her $150,000 paycheck for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” after initially being offered $100,000.

However, that was still far less than her original request for $500,000.