Jussie Smollett’s ‘Empire’ character to be removed from remaining episodes
The announcement comes after Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.
WATCH BELOW: Jussie Smollett freed on US$100K bond after charge laid in ‘hoax’ attack
Police say he faked a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career.
Empire executive producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer released a joint statement saying Smollett’s character, Jamal, was being removed from the final two episodes of the season “to avoid further disruption on set.”
“The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us,” the series executives said in a statement released Friday.
The statement continued: “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.”
WATCH BELOW: Jussie Smollett maintaining innocence after being charged for filing false police report
Fox, the Empire broadcasting network, had previously issued multiple statements in support of Smollett, calling him a “consummate professional” during his time on the show.
Following his arrest, the network said they were “evaluating the situation” and “considering [their] options.”
It is unclear if Smollett will return to the show if it comes back for a sixth season.
Prosecutors charged Smollett late Wednesday with felony disorderly conduct. He turned himself in to police Thursday and was jailed until an afternoon court appearance.
WATCH BELOW: ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett arrested for allegedly staging assault
Prosecutors say Smollett gave detailed instructions to the accomplices who helped him stage the attack in January, including telling them specific slurs to yell, urging them to shout “MAGA country” and even pointing out a surveillance camera that he thought would record the beating.
Lawyers for the Beautiful singer blasted what they called an “organized law enforcement spectacle” on Thursday after Smollett was arrested, charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police and later freed after posting a $100,000 bond.
“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 reads.
“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.”
The statement came after Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson held a news conference in which he forcefully denounced Smollett’s alleged actions, saying that they offended him and made him angry.
“[Smollett] took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” he said.
“Why would anyone use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How can an individual turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?”
—With files from the Associated Press and Jesse FerrerasFollow @KatieScottNews
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