Jussie Smollett will be removed from the final two episodes of Empire after allegedly staging a racist and homophobic attack.
The openly gay actor, who was hospitalised following an alleged attack in Chicago on January 29, claimed two white men tied a rope around his neck, poured a corrosive substance over him and made reference to President Donald Trump's 2016 election slogan 'Make America Great Again'.
Earlier this week, Smollett’s lawyers denied he had any involvement in the alleged racist and homophobic attack but Chicago Police Department revealed the Empire star has been charged with filing a false police report.
It was rumoured that he was set to be fired from the hit Fox show, however, when news of the so-called attack happened, producers denied rumours that he was to be axed from Empire.
But now, despite Smollett entering a not guilty plea to felony charges for allegedly staging the attack, the show’s creators and executive producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer confirmed he won’t be in the final two episodes of the current season.
In a joint statement, they 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.
“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.”