February 22, 2019 at 12:58 pm EDT | by Mariah Cooper
Jussie Smollett cut from final ‘Empire’ episodes
Jussie Smollett, gay news, Washington Blade
Jussie Smollett. (Photo via Bigstock)

Jussie Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon has been removed from the final two season five episodes of “Empire” following police allegations that he staged his reported attack.

Smollett was arrested on Thursday morning and charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. Police say that after a letter, which they believe Smollett sent himself, containing racist and homophobic language didn’t receive enough attention, he paid two men $3,500 to stage the attack. Police believe Smollett orchestrated the plan because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” on the Fox series.

Fox supported Smollett, who continued to film scenes throughout the investigation, calling him a “consummate professional on set” and adding that “he is not being written out of the show.” After Thursday’s developments, “Empire” producers, including Lee Daniels, released a statement that Smollett will be cut from the rest of the season.

“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,” producers said.

Smollett arrived to work on set later the same day as his arrest, after paying the $10,000 bond of his $100,000 bail, where he reportedly apologized to the cast and crew of “Empire” but maintained his innocence.

According to TMZ, Smollett addressed the set: “I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this.”

His legal team released a statement that Smollett is innocent and blamed the Chicago Police Department for the way they handled the case.

“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. 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 reads.

If Smollett is found guilty, he could face one to three years in prison.

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