‘Empire’ Drops Jussie Smollett’s Character Following His Arrest
It's official: Jussie Smollett won't be in the final episodes of Empire's current season.
The producers of the hit TV series released an official statement on Friday (Feb. 22), confirming Smollett's character, Jamal, has been removed from the final two Season 5 episodes following his arrest. “The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us,” they said in a statement. “Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply."
"While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out," they continued. "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."
According to TMZ, Smollett visited the Empire set after he was released on bail 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. I swear to God, I did not do this," he reportedly said.
As previously reported, Smollett was arrested and charged with filing a false police report after police found evidence to suggest he "orchestrated" the racist and homophobic attack in Chicago in January to promote his career. If found guilty, he could face up to three years in prison and a fine of $125,000.