*The big on-set blowup between Taraji P. Henson and guest star Nia Long reportedly started when Nia went off on a male cast member who commented on her alleged tardiness.
According to TMZ, production sources say Nia was “habitually late,” and that Taraji and Terrence Howard would sometimes be waiting on set for 30 minutes and Nia was a no-show. Producers would finally use a stand-in for Nia so Taraji and Terrence could rehearse a scene.
On one of Nia’s late days, one of the male actors reportedly joked to her, “Damn, why are you on black people time?”
Nia reportedly went on a rampage against the actor, who insisted to her that he was just joking, but she continued berating him.
Taraji reportedly jumped in, asking Nia, “What are you, on your period? Is it that time, girlfriend?”
According to TMZ, that’s when things between the two actresses turned ice cold. “Taraji has always been super protective of the cast and crew and everyone was in her corner,” the website reported.
The hair and makeup folks on “Empire” filed an official complaint against Nia, claiming she was disrespectful and unprofessional throughout her run on the show, according to TMZ:
Our sources say in the history of the show the hair and makeup people have only filed one formal complaint for mistreatment … and that was against Nia. The hair and makeup people say she was extremely disrespectful … at times deciding she didn’t like her look at the last minute and then chewing them out.
Nia also threatened to sue the show over not getting the cast goodbye that she was promised, TMZ reports:
It is custom on the set when guest stars finish their last scene for the Assistant Director to call it out … “This is (name of actor) last scene,” followed by a “thank you” and applause. When Nia did her last scene, Terrence was having some sort of allergic reaction and his lip began swelling. The A.D. was looking for Benadryl when Nia left. It’s unclear if the A.D. was distracted or just didn’t want to thank Nia, but we’re told as Nia walked out she told someone in production she was going to sue the show because the “goodbye” was in her contract. Production sources say it was not in her contract.
Meanwhile, E! News says Nia’s threat of a lawsuit stemmed from her “Empire” trailer being taken from her too early:
“It was when Nia made a big scene and claimed to ‘file a lawsuit’ against the crew after they rewrapped her trailer for a girl in the Make-a-Wish Foundation whose wish was to come to Empire,” the source reveals. “Nia had finished filming and left so they changed her trailer into the Make-a-Wish girl’s trailer. Then Nia popped back up and threw a giant fit when she saw it.”
Afterwards, the two actresses “argued pretty badly in front of everyone.”
Long’s rep, however, says all of the feud rumors couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“This story is complete nonsense,” the star’s rep said in a statement. “Throughout her long, established career, Nia has been nothing but a consummate professional treating all members of productions with respect. This is nothing but another complete fabrication about a series that has been plagued by constant rumors of drama and misconduct.”