Jussie Smollett will not return for 'Empire' finale, Fox exec says
Jussie Smollett will not return for the series finale of "Empire."
Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn told TVLine that the actor would not reprise his role after being written out of the show.
“We’re not going to bring Jussie back to the show," Thorn said. "There were a number of factors that went into the decision to not bring him back. There were many points of view about if he should come back or if he shouldn’t. As hard as a decision as that was, for us... it felt like it was in the best interests of the show and the cast."
Smollett, 37, departed "Empire" after his claims of being a victim of hate crimes in Chicago were questioned in early 2019.
"Our hope is that all of the controversy surrounding Jussie doesn’t overshadow the show, which we think is bigger than him," Thorn said.
Last month, showrunner Brett Mahoney said that Smollett's return was being "discussed."
“It would be weird in my mind to end this family show and this family drama of which he was such a significant part of without seeing him,” Mahoney said. “It’s fair to say it’s being discussed, but there’s no plan as of yet to bring him back. There’s been no decision made.”
In Jan. 2019, Smollett reported that he was attacked by two masked men around 2 a.m. He claimed the men yelled racial and homophobic slurs as they beat him, poured acid on him and tied a noose around his neck.
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Chicago police said the attack was staged, and Smollett was charged with making a false report.
Prosecutors dropped the case in March. Smollett maintained his innocence but agreed to let authorities keep the $10,000 bail.
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Reps for "Empire" did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.