Jussie Smollett’s character of Jamal has been removed from the final two episodes of the upcoming season of Fox’s “Empire,” the show’s executives said Friday following th eon going trials.
“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,” co-creators Lee Daniels and Brett Mahoney and executive producers Danny Strong, 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 second half of Season 5 of “Empire” returns to Fox on March 13.
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.