‘Empire’ Creator Lee Daniels Confirms Jussie Smollett Is Not Returning to Show
“Empire” will not bring embattled star Jussie Smollett back for its sixth and final season, co-creator Lee Daniels confirmed.
Daniels tweeted the news in response to a report that “Empire” writers were preparing for Smollett’s return as Jamal Lyons.
“This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire,” he wrote.
Last month, when Fox renewed “Empire” for Season 6, the network stated: “By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to ‘Empire.'”
Smollett had been written out of the final two episodes of Season 5 while controversy swirled around him.
In January, Smollett claimed to be the victim of a homophobic and racist attack. The case underwent twists and turns, with Smollett later charged with filing a false police report. Those charges were eventually dismissed.
After he was cleared, his co-stars — led by Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson — reportedly wrote a letter to Fox advocating for Smollett to return to the show in Season 6.
“We must stand together as a family. A family is there for us in good times and bad,” they wrote.
Smollett’s character, Jamal, was given a happy sendoff in Season 5, marrying Kai (Toby Onwumere) and leaving for the honeymoon.
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