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‘Empire’ will not cut Jussie Smollett role, studio says

Jussie Smollett on "Good Morning America"

Jussie Smollett was interviewed on "Good Morning America" on Thursday; on the ABC show, he described being attacked in Chicago. | ABCNEWS

Fox Television says “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett “continues to be a consummate professional on set” and it has reiterated that he’s not being written out of the show.

The statement issued Wednesday by 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment follows reports that Smollett’s role on the show was being slashed amid police investigations into the actor’s report that he was attacked in Chicago last month.

The 36-year old told Chicago police that two masked men beat him, yelled homophobic and racial slurs and looped a rope around his neck. Smollett is black and gay.

“Empire” is on hiatus and scheduled to resume new episodes on March 13. A Fox spokeswoman said nine episodes remain in this season, the show’s fifth, and filming is complete on all but two.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said last week that media reports about the attack being a hoax were unconfirmed by case detectives. Police said Saturday that their investigation had “shifted” after they interviewed two brothers who were arrested and later released.

The studio statement comes one day after social media lit up with reports that the series was allegedly cutting Smollet’s scenes, curtailing his screen time or writing him off the hugely successful series.

On Valentine’s Day, Fox issued an initial statement on Smollett, throwing its full support behind the actor:

“The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of EMPIRE is patently ridiculous. He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him.”

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