Jussie Smollett Will Not Be Returning To ‘Empire,’ Lee Daniels Announces
Empire star Jussie Smollett will not be returning to the hit Fox series for its sixth and final season.
Co-creator Lee Daniels announced the news on Tuesday when he tweeted, “Jussie will NOT be returning to ‘Empire,'” in response to an article in Variety that cited sources who said the show intended to bring back Smollett and his character Jamal for the episodes leading up to the series finale.
— lee daniels (@leedanielsent) June 4, 2019
Other than in some flashback scenes, Smollett has not appeared in the show since he was accused of staging a homophobic attack against himself earlier this year.
On January 29, Smollett told the police that he was the victim of both a homophobic and a racist hate crime. However, his story did not add up and police and investigators began to dig deeper and question the events that Smollett had reported. It was then believed that Smollett orchestrated the attack himself after being dissatisfied with pay on the television series.
Smollett had reported that two men hurled slurs at him, assaulted him, threw bleach on him and put a noose around his neck. However, both Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo later admitted they were hired by the actor and were paid $3,500 to stage the attack.
In March, he pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct relating to the alleged attack. Chicago prosecutors dropped the charges later that month.
Although castmates wrote a letter advocating for Smollett’s return, Fox has reiterated that there have been “no plans” for his return on the show.