Following his arrest on Thursday, Jussie Smollett has now been removed from the final two episodes of Empire Season 5.
“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,” said series executives Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer in a statement.
Just a few days ago, Fox stood by Smollett, but now it seems as if they are having to act in the meantime while the legal issues play out.
And despite Fox’s continued reiterance that Smollett was not being written out, Deadline reports: With just a couple of episodes left to be completed in the current season of Empire, producer and writers on the Mahoney showrun series had already cut or trimmed a number of Smollett’s remaining scenes so today’s move isn’t a seismic shift in that sense.”
Currently, authorities believe that Smollett planned his attack with the help of acquaintances Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo. Smollett and his team have denied that he had involvement in his own attack.