Hate-crime hoaxer Jussie Smollett will not appear in the last two episodes of “Empire” this season, as he stands accused of a felony for orchestrating an attack against himself and blaming it on supporters of President Donald J. Trump.
“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,” the executive producers of the show said in a statement.
“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 move is akin to a suspension for the star actor. There is no word on whether Smollett will be appear in the next season of the show.
“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options,” Fox said Thursday.
Smollett was booked into the Cook County Jail for felony disorderly conduct – the crime which encompasses filing false statements in Illinois – and later released on $100,000 bond.
Jussie Smollett declined to make his first public statements since being charged with disorderly conduct when leaving court after posting bail.
Local media and reporters were seen on camera mobbing Smollett and asking questions about his now-exposed hate hoax. Smollett was surrounded by security guards, and seemed to be in the presence of his lawyers.
Smollett made a $10,000 payment and surrendered his passport to the court in the proceedings. Sources described the Empire actor and hoaxer as shaking his head and taking deep breaths throughout the hearing.
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