Fans of the FOX hit show Empire may recall a period of the drama that took place in prison. Well, those scenes were shot in Chicago’s Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. While the episodes were a major hit for the studio, it appears that everything may not have run as smoothly as it could’ve for those young people housed at the center.
Families of two teens who were placed in JTDC are suing FOX, Empire and the detention center for a severe lockdown that occurred during filming that they claim was worse than the conditions that some adult prisoners experience, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The purpose of these lockdowns was to provide Fox with a realistic prison facility to use as the primary set of two highly profitable ‘Empire’ episodes,” the families’ lawyers wrote in a 37-page federal complaint filed Wednesday. “The children at JTDC, meanwhile, were placed under restrictions more severe than those governing many adult jails.”
According to the lawsuit, the filming occurred June 21-26, July 13-16 and Aug. 23-26 on 2015. And during all of these filming periods, inhabitants of the detention center were allegedly living in extremely restricting conditions.
“There they were told to sit, for days on end,” lawyers wrote. “Their schooling continued in name only, visits from their families were interrupted, cut back, or effectively eliminated, sick-call requests were ignored, and programs that are intended to help them overcome the problems that landed them at the JTDC in the first place were cancelled or interrupted.”
As of now, representatives of FOX and JTDC have yet to comment.
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