Saturday, May 18, 2024

Jussie Smollett Cut From ‘Empire After Cast Feels ‘Betrayed’ By Actor


*Following his arrest on the charges of filing a false police report, Jussie Smollett has been removed from the final two episodes of “Empire” Season 5, executive producers of the hit FOX music drama announced in a statement Friday.

“The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us,” read the statement from series co-creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, showrunner Brett Mahoney, and executive producers Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer.

“Jussie has been an important member of our ‘Empire’ family for the past five years and we care about him deeply,” the statement continued. “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.”

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Jussie Smollett's mugshot
Jussie Smollett’s mugshot

Smollett — who plays the openly gay Jamal Lyon on the series — surrendered himself to Chicago PD early Thursday morning, hours after he was charged with filing a false police report.

The actor’s bail was set at $100,000 and within hours of his release, Smollett returned to work on the “Empire” set and addressed the cast and crew, saying …”I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this.”

The move to boot him off the series comes after a TMZ report that many of his co-stars feel betrayed by the actor so they want him written off the show immediately.

Police say Jussie’s case was about money — that he orchestrated his own hate crime because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the show. But according to Forbes, he earned an estimated $125,000 per episode. 

Smollett’s team released this statement Thursday night: “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.”

His next court date has been set for Thursday, March 14.


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