Empire creator Lee Daniels has finally put the rumors to rest: Jussie Smollett will not return for the show’s upcoming sixth season.
On Tuesday night, Daniels rebutted a new report from Variety suggesting Smollett would have a role in the upcoming season. “This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire,” Daniel tweeted.
Daniels’ announcement puts to rest months of rumors regarding Smollett’s status on the FOX drama. The 36-year-old actor was infamously written out of the last two episodes of the hit show’s fifth season amidst his growing legal drama. After claiming he was the victim of a racially charged assault, he was charged with 16 felonies for filing a false police report when investigators determined he’d faked the incident. In a shocking twist, the prosecutors ended up dropping all charges.
Despite this, FOX renewed Smollett’s contract for season six and kept the door open for his possible return. “We’ve been told 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,” a rep for Smollett said at the time.
Now, though, it seems Smollett’s fate has been sealed.
— lee daniels (@leedanielsent) June 4, 2019