Ahead of its final season’s return, Empire co-creator Lee Daniels confirmed that actor Jussie Smollett will not return. According to Variety, sources working on the set reported that the Fox show’s writers were “breaking ideas” on how to re-insert Smollett.
On Twitter, Daniels revealed the news by responding to a Variety article that stated otherwise. This is not factual,” Daniels said. “Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire.” The Oscar-winning director has remained by Smollett’s side since the latter claimed he was the victim of a hate crime in Chicago in late January.
An investigation by the Chicago Police Department deemed that Smollett orchestrated the reported incident and he ended up in court facing 16 counts of disorderly conduct for fabricating a police report. However, in March, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office decided to drop the charges.
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community, and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” a statement from the office reads.
Recently, 460 pages of court documents were released detailing Smollett’s case and the reveal of a deal between prosecutors and the 36-year-old prior to his charges being dropped. According to The Hollywood Reporter, CPD was made aware of this deal but refrained from notifying superiors.
— lee daniels (@leedanielsent) June 4, 2019