Fox’s drama series “Empire” is distancing itself from headline-making cast member Jussie Smollett after he was arrested on suspicion of a felony in the matter of his faked attack.
According to Page Six, Smollett has been removed altogether from the final two episodes of the current season of the show.
“The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us,” said the executive producers of “Empire” in a joint statement released by 20th Century Fox Television.
“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,” the statement continued. “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 producer’s most recent statement is somewhat of a departure from their previous indication that the show was dedicated to keeping the actor on their roster.
“The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off Empire is patently ridiculous,” Fox said earlier this week according to Page Six.
However, 36-year-old Smollett was arrested on Thursday, despite his consistent denial of the allegations against him.
The actor filed a police report stating that he was attacked on Jan. 29 in the early morning hours while out to buy food.
According to Smollett, he was walking down a street in Chicago when two men put a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him and made racist and homophobic slurs, as well as declaring their allegiance to President Donald Trump during the attack.