One day after Jussie Smollett was arrested on multiple felony charges for the alleged racist and homophobic attack of last month, the producers of Empire have cut the actor from the rest of the show’s fifth season.
“The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us,” said EPs Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer this morning.
“Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply,” the producers added. “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.”
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.
And to think Jussie planned all of this because he was dissatisfied with his salary.