- In a new statement, the executive producers “Empire” said that Jussie Smollett’s character Jamal will not appear in the final two episodes of this season.
- “While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out,” the statement said. “We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season.”
- This decision comes after Smollett was arrested Thursday on charges of falsely filing a police report about a racist, homophobic attack.
- Police say Smollett staged a racist and homophobic attack against him to raise his profile because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”
- Smollett’s lawyers say he is innocent.
Jussie Smollett’s character Jamal will not appear in the final two episodes of this season of the Fox show “Empire,” the series executive producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo, and Dennis Hammer said in a statement.
According to the statement, the decision came after the Chicago Police Department arrested Smollett on Thursday on charges of falsifying a police report about an alleged racist, homophobic attack in January.
“While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out,” the statement said. “We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season.”
Earlier this week, Deadline and TMZ reported that multiple scenes featuring actor had been cut from production. Smollett had been cut from five of nine scenes as well as a musical number, sources told TMZ.
“Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show,” a spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment told INSIDER at the time.
Smollett alleged that when he was attacked two men put a noose around his neck, chanted Trump slogans, poured bleach on him, and used racist and homophobic slurs. But police now believe that Smollett orchestrated the attack because he was unhappy with his salary on “Empire,” they said in a press conference on Thursday. Smollett has been accused of paying two men $3,500 to take part in the attack.
TMZ reported that the 36-year-old actor returned to the set of “Empire” on Thursday to apologize to the cast and crew.
“I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family,” he said, according to TMZ. “I swear to God, I did not do this.”
Smollett’s lawyers said that he maintains his innocence and called him a man of “impeccable character and integrity,” The Associated Press reported. He will appear in court on March 14.
In the statement provided to INSIDER, the “Empire” executive producers said it’s been a challenging time.
“The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us,” the statement said. “Jussie has been an important member of our ‘Empire’ family for the past five years and we care about him deeply.”
- Read more:
- Cardi B says that she is ‘really disappointed’ in Jussie Smollett following reports that he may have staged his alleged attack
- Jussie Smollett reportedly makes as much as $125,000 per episode on ‘Empire’ – and police say he staged an attack because he wanted more money
- Jussie Smollett and the case for due process in the court of public opinion