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Jussie Smollett not returning to 'Empire,' TV creator says

Jussie Smollett.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Jussie Smollett.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Published Jun 6, 2019

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Jussie Smollett will not be

returning to U.S. television series "Empire", the show's creator

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says, marking the first public confirmation that the actor has

been dropped after a furor over claims that he was the victim of

a hate crime.

Responding to a Variety report that writers were discussing

scenarios in which Smollett's character would return towards the

end of the sixth and final season, "Empire" creator Lee Daniels

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wrote on Twitter on Tuesday; "Jussie will NOT be returning to

Empire."

Smollett, 36, who is black and gay, ignited a firestorm by

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telling police in January that two apparent supporters of U.S.

President Donald Trump struck him, put a noose around his neck

and poured bleach over him while yelling racist and homophobic

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slurs on a Chicago street.

Chicago police later accused Smollett of making up the

attack but the actor maintained his innocence and prosecutors in

March dismissed criminal charges against him.

Smollett, who played gay singer-songwriter Jamal Lyon on the

show about a family in the hip-hop entertainment business, was

dropped from the final episodes of season 5 earlier this year.

The Fox network, now owned by Walt Disney Co, said

in April that there were no plans to bring his character back

for Season 6, which is expected to air this fall, but left open

a contractual option for Smollett to return.

Fox has said "Empire" will end after Season 6.

Representatives for Smollett did not return a request for

comment on him being dropped from the show.

Reuters

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