Jussie Smollett’s ‘Empire’ role cut from season’s final episodes

Posted at 10:43 AM, Feb 22, 2019

(Fox News) – Jussie Smollett’s character has been removed from the final two episodes of the upcoming season of Fox’s “Empire,” the show’s creators said Friday.

“The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us. 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,” executive producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer told Fox News.

“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,” the statement continued.

The statement comes after Smollett returned to the Chicago set of “Empire” on Thursday just hours after posting bail on a felony disorderly conduct charge.

Earlier on Thursday, Fox said: “We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”

Smollett walked out of the Cook County jail in Chicago on Thursday afternoon, about two hours after a hearing in which the judge set his bond at $100,000. Taking a stern tone, the judge called his alleged staging of a hate crime “outrageous.”

CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 21: In this handout provided by the Chicago Police Department, Jussie Smollett poses for a booking photo after turning himself into the Chicago Police Department on February 21, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. The 36-year-old “Empire” star is facing a class four felony charge for filing a false police report after claiming he was the victim of an assault on January 29th. (Photo by Chicago Police Department via Getty Images)

Following three weeks of mounting suspicions, Smollett, who is accused of filing a false police report, was charged Wednesday with felony disorderly conduct. He turned himself in at central booking early Thursday. If convicted, he’ll face up to three years in prison.

Chicago police laid out their case against Smollett Thursday morning, accusing the TV star of orchestrating an elaborate hoax via two “bogus” hate crimes — one employing an alleged attack, and one involving a threatening letter — all in order to secure a pay raise.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett orchestrated a “phony attack” in order to take “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”