Jussie Smollett’s future on “Empire” remains in limbo.
The series has officially been renewed for a sixth season on Fox, but there are no plans for Smollett’s character Jamal to return.
Smollett, 36, was accused of orchestrating a racial and homophobic-fuelled assault on himself. He was eventually indicted for disorderly conduct, but all charges against Smollett were controversially dropped. On March 27, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced they would be investigating why the charges against Smollett were dismissed.
His character was written out of the final two episodes of season five. “By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for season six,” Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV said in a statement obtained by ET Canada. “But at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to ‘Empire’.”
A spokesperson for Smollett addressed their client’s future in a statement obtained by ET Canada: “We’ve been told that Jussie will not be on ‘Empire’ in the beginning of the season but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal’s future open. Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and Empire leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”
Just last week, the cast of “Empire” – including Terrance Howard and Taraji P. Henson – penned a letter in support of Smollett. “Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of ‘Empire’,” the letter read. “A family is there for us in good times and bad.”