Bosses at 20th Century Fox Television have decided to remove Jussie Smollett from the final two episodes of Empire’s fifth season.
In a statement, the show’s executive producers said, “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,” they said.
“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.”
The statement was released following reports that Jussie had returned to the show’s set, just two hours after he was released from jail.
On Thursday morning, the actor was officially arrested after being charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report.
In the report, Jussie claimed that he had been brutally attacked by two individuals in Chicago in the early hours of January 29.
Following his arrest, the 36-year-old attended his bond hearing in a Chicago courtroom, and a judge set the actor’s bond at $100,000.
In a press conference on Thursday morning, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson claimed, “Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language.”
“When that didn’t work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago’s reputation through the mud in the process. And why? This stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary, so he concocted a story about being attacked.”
“This announcement today recognizes that Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career. Why would anyone, especially an African-American use a noose…to further his public profile?”
Chicago PD lays into Jussie Smollett in a post-arrest press conference https://t.co/R7Hekx45h8
— UPROXX (@UPROXX) February 21, 2019
Despite claims from Chicago police, Jussie fiercely protested his innocence after being released from jail on Thursday.
In a statement, the 36-year-old’s legal team said, “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.”
“Today we witnessed an organised 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,” the statement claimed.