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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Texas Governor Greg Abbott Pledges to Outlaw Big Tech Censorship
Texas has had enough.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is pledging to outlaw Big Tech’s left-wing censorship, announcing his support of a bill in the Texas State Senate that would open social media monopolies to lawsuits from users at a state level.
State Senator Bryan Hughes Senate Bill 12 would provide legal recourse for users of Big Tech platforms who are banned from the services to return, designating Big Tech monopolies such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook as common carriers.
“They are common carriers and they cannot discriminate against people … it’s a violation of the first amendment,” Hughes said. “This is going to protect Texas’ free speech and get them back online.”
I am joining @SenBryanHughes to announce a bill prohibiting social media companies from censoring viewpoints.
It's un-American, Un-Texan, & soon to be illegal.https://t.co/zSdirRa1pj
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 5, 2021
“These are the areas that used to be the courthouse square where people would come and talk,” said Abbott of the legislation. “Now, people are going to Facebook and Twitter to talk about their political ideas, and what Facebook and Twitter are doing — they are controlling the flow of information, and sometimes denying the flow of information.”
“Texas is taking a stand against big tech political censorship. We are not going to allow it in the Lone Star state.”
The law establishing legal recourse against online censorship may prove legally durable enough to avoid breaching Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That law provides immunity for user-created content on internet platforms, and doesn’t give social media platforms a right to discriminate against active or potential users on the basis of political ideology.
The future for fighting Big Tech censorship lies at a state level. While some state Republican officials have proven reluctant to separate themselves from the lucrative business lobbies of Big Tech oligarchs, Hughes’ approach seems legally innovative enough to give free speech defenders a fighting shot at free expression online.
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