It has been confirmed hat Jussie Smollett will not be returning to the May series finale of Empire.
Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn says that “a number of factors” went into the network’s decision not to ask Smollett back.
“There were many points of view about if he should come back or if he shouldn’t,” he said. “As hard as a decision as that was, for us–when I say us I mean the network, the studio and the producers–it felt like it was in the best interests of the show and the cast. Our hope is that all of the controversy surrounding Jussie doesn’t overshadow the show, which we think is bigger than him.”
The aforementioned controversy started when Smollett claimed he was a victim of a hate crime in early 2019. The subsequent investigation turned against Smollett when he was accused of making up the attack himself. Charges against Smollett for making a false police report were dropped, but Smollett eventually lost the backing of Empire creator Lee Daniels and Empire brass in general when it was revealed that there weren’t any plans to bring Smollett back as Jamal Lyon.
He was eventually written off the show, with his character Jamal written as living with his newlywed husband Kai (Toby Onwumere) in London.
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