‘Empire’ Filming Forced Teens Into Lockdown At Detention Center: Lawsuit

CHICAGO — Teens and children at a Chicago juvenile detention center were confined to their rooms and banned from family visits for days so “Empire” could film at the facility, according to a new class-action lawsuit.

The Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center on the Near West Side was placed on lockdown three times last summer so “Empire,” a popular TV drama, could film there, according to the lawsuit, which was obtained by Deadline.com. While the center was on lockdown, its inmates, who are 10 to 16 years old, had to remain in their cells or in “pods” just outside their cells and were to sit inside “for days on end,” according to the lawsuit.

“The children … were placed under restrictions more severe than those governing many adult jails,” according to the lawsuit, which was brought by two former inmates who were 16 during the filming. The lawsuit hopes to represent all of the children who were housed at the center during filming.

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