Jussie Smollett ‘will not be coming back’ for Empire’s historic series finale
Embattled actor Jussie Smollett will not be returning to Empire for its final ever episode.
The actor played gay character Jamal Lyons on the Fox TV series for five seasons, but was written out of the show in April 2019 after the actor was accused of faking a homophobic and racist attack against himself.
The show is set to conclude at the end of its current sixth season in May – and while its finale might typically be expected to reunite the whole cast, it will definitely not feature Smollett.
Jussie Smollett ‘will not be coming back’ for end of Empire.
Fox boss Michael Thorn made clear that the actor will not be coming back after show runner Brett Mahoney hinted to TheWrap that “it would be weird in my mind to end this [show] of which he was such a significant part of without seeing him”.
Thorn made clear to the outlet: “He will not be coming back. As you would expect when you’re finishing an iconic series like Empire, that Brett, as the show runner, along with his producing partners, would certainly have discussions about what’s the best way to finish the show.
“In this case, Jussie will not be coming back for the finale.”
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He added of the show’s ailing ratings: “Have we talked about how to goose ratings? Of course. Did we talk about exploiting Jussie’s situation to do so? No.”
Criminal charges against Smollett were dropped in March 2019, but the actor is still facing extensive legal troubles over the incident.
Actor is still being sued over hate crime claims.
The city of Chicago is pursuing a civil lawsuit against Smollett, seeking to reclaim $130,000 spent investigating his claims.
Meanwhile, Smollett himself is suing the city of Chicago, three police officers and the two brothers who claim he paid them to fake the attack – arguing that he is a victim of a malicious prosecution that has killed his career.
Meanwhile, a judge has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate why charges were dropped in the case.