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Friday, February 22, 2019

Jussie Smollett "Jamal" Dropped From "EMPIRE" for Remainder of Season

Jussie Smollett will not appear in the final two episodes of Empire's season.
On Friday, the executive producers Empire Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo, and Dennis Hammer released a statement explaining the reason behind their decision to remove Smollett's role of JAMAL from the remainder of the season. 

The statement comes one day after Smollett was arrested for allegedly filing a false police report in which he claimed he was the victim of a hate crime on Jan. 29. 

The statement read: "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."

"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,”

In a press conference held shortly after his arrest, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department Eddie T. Johnson claimed that Smollett staged his alleged attack to promote his career. Johnson alleged that the actor paid $3,500 to stage an attack because he was "dissatisfied" with his Empire salary. Johnson also alleged that Smollett concocted the threatening letter he received prior to the alleged attack that contained homophobic and racist language, and when that "didn't work," went ahead with the alleged attack.

He said: "As far as we can tell, the scratching and bruising that you saw on his face were most likely self-inflicted," Johnson alleged. " ... Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."

"How can an individual who has been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face?"

Smollett still maintains that he is a victim and again denied all the allegations via his attorney on Thursday. His next hearing is set for March 14.

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