FOX Issues Fresh Statement, Confirms Jussie Smollett’s Suspension From ‘Empire’

Posted February 22, 2019

image via FOX Empire Instagram

Earlier this week FOX studios issued a statement indicating that they were standing by Jussie Smollett despite rumors that he was being written out of ‘Empire‘ for the second half of the season which returns in March.

This was before Thursday, when the actor turned himself in on charges he filed a fake police report and ended with prosecutors stating he plotted the Jan. 29 attack to make himself look like the victim of a brutal anti-black, homophobic crime.

Now the network has released a fresh statement on the matter as of Friday revealing he is indeed suspended and will not appear in the last half of the season according to USA Today:

Fox announced on Friday Jussie Smollett was suspended from the hit show “Empire” after the actor was accused of paying two men to attack him last month in what police say was a ploy to raise his profile because he was unhappy with his salary.

“The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us,” said a statement from 20th Century Fox Television attributed to the show’s executive producers. “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,” they said, referring to his character, Jamal Lyon, the scion of a recording-industry family.

The show is currently in production on the 17th of the fifth season’s 18 episodes, and is expected to complete filming by mid-March. The suspension suggests that scenes in which he’s already appeared will be removed from the finished episode. The show, still popular among young-adult viewers, is expected to be renewed. But whether Smollett remains part of the cast next season is uncertain.

“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process,” 20th Century Fox Studio and Fox Entertainment said in a statement. “We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”

Meanwhile, Jussie’s team maintains his innocence as they also released a statement on Thursday.

“Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election. Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”

We hope this all gets cleared up. ‘Empire’ returns to FOX in March.

image via Jussie Instagram Despite all criminal charges being dropped against
image via Jussie Instagram After months of turmoil and public scrutiny,
image via Instagram 'Empire' returned on Wednesday from it's winter hiatus

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