Empire stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P Henson*Could there be a double standard on ‘Empire’?

After all, the show’s non-use of the N-word has been the topic of conversation since it’s star Terrence Howard made his preference for the word known back in February in an effort to make “Empire” more authentic.

“Why is TV showing something different from the reality of the world? “ the actor expressed to Entertainment Weekly. “Why is there a thing called censorship that stop people from hearing everyday talk? We use n– every day. It’s become part of a conversation—why aren’t we using it in the show?”

Howard’s views apparently didn’t strike enough of a nerve with the writers to make them change their minds about not inserting it into the dialogue of “Empire.”

Addressing Howard’s comments at a panel at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas, Saturday (June 6), the hit show’s co-creator Danny Strong maintained that the N-word wasn’t needed, The Huffington Post reports

“It’s not a documentary about hip-hop,” he said. “It’s a soap opera that takes place in the hip-hop world.”

While the folks at “Empire” stand firm in not using the N-word, the same can’t be said another slur, which is directed at gay people. As the panel drew to a close, Strong responded to an audience members question about why he felt comfortable using the F-word if “Empire” writers don’t use the N-word.

The scene referenced by the audience member involved Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) shouts at her husband Lucious (Howard). “I want to show you a f– really can run this company,” she says, in reference to their gay son Jamal (Jussie Smollett) taking control of the company they created.

“That was really important to [co-creator] Lee [Daniels], in particular, who is gay,” Strong told the crowd. “The idea is that she is throwing his homophobia back in his face… So to use one of the most offensive slurs is a powerful way to do that.”