Smollett, who has a supporting role on the show as Jamal Lyon, claimed earlier this year that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic assault. But Chicago police said that Smollett staged the attack as a publicity stunt because he was unhappy with his “Empire” salary. Smollett turned himself in to police last month.
Smollett was recently making as much as $125,000, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The show’s producers said in a statement following his arrest that Smollett will be written out of the show.
“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,” they said. “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.”
Smollett’s character on Wednesday’s episode ended his engagement because his fiancé had problems with his family’s illegal activities. At one point, he says, “I don’t know if y’all been reading the blogs and all the foolishness, but it’s kinda been a tough week.”