On Tuesday, reports indicated that embattled “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett would not reprise his role on the popular show’s next season, allegedly stemming from fallout from the recent scandal that captured the nation’s attention.
“By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to ‘Empire,'” said Fox Entertainment in a statement on Tuesday.
A representative for Smollett said the actor “appreciates that [Fox studios] extended his contract to keep [character] Jamal’s future open.”
Smollett has faced a firestorm of outrage after claiming to have been attacked by two white Trump supporters in a racially-motivated hate crime, which police later determined to have been orchestrated by none other than Smollett, himself.
The case has continued to draw media attention, following prosecutors’ mysterious decision to drop the charges against Smollett.
From The AP News:
Fox Entertainment said Tuesday that Jussie Smollett will not return to his series “Empire” next season in the wake of allegations by Chicago officials the actor lied about a racially motivated attack.
“By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to ‘Empire,’” the studio said in a statement that gave no reasoning was given for the decision.
Fox announced earlier Tuesday that the drama about a hip-hop record label and the fiery family behind it had been renewed for a sixth season.
A Smollett representative released a statement to several media outlets suggesting a hope that he may eventually return.
“We’ve been told that Jussie will not be on ‘Empire’ in the beginning of the season but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal’s future open,” the statement said. “Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and ‘Empire’ leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”
Fox announced earlier Tuesday that the show had been renewed for a sixth season.
Smollett’s character was removed from the final two episodes of season five.
Chicago police allege Smollett paid two brothers to help him stage a January attack in which he said two masked men beat him, hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, doused him with a chemical substance and put a rope around his neck.