Jussie Smollett’s character on “Empire,” Jamal Lyon, will do a disappearing act later this season.
In a statement released Friday morning, the executive producers of the series announced that Smollett’s character would not be featured in the final two episodes of the show’s current season as a way to “avoid further disruption.”
The announcement came less than 24 hours after Smollett appeared in bond court on a disorderly conduct charge for allegedly cooking up a scheme to fake his own racist, homophobic attack.
“While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out,” the statement reads.“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.”
The producers also said that, “Jussie has been an important member of our ‘Empire’ family for the past five years and we care about him deeply.”
Now on a planned hiatus, “Empire” is scheduled to return with new episodes starting March 13 on WFLD-Channel 32.
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Thursday that Smollett “orchestrated” a plan to hire two men — one of whom also worked on “Empire” — to stage a racist, homophobic attack on him because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the show.