Don't expect to see Jamal Lyon on the remaining episodes of Empire.
Actor Jussie Smollett's character has been removed from the season's final two episodes after he was charged with a class 4 felony for filing a false police report claiming to be the victim of a racist, homophobic attack, the Associated Press reports. Producers of the show released a statement one day after Smollett appeared in court.
"While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays," executive producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo, and Dennis Hammer said in a statement. "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."
Smollett paid $10,000 to be released yesterday after a judge set his bail at $100,000. He was also ordered to surrender his passport after being deemed a flight risk. Texts read aloud in court showed Smollett conversing with his two attackers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, about buying supplies for the attack.
In a press conference on Thursday, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson called the "hoax" a "shameful" publicity stunt that Smollett allegedly orchestrated due to dissatisfaction with his Empire salary. Johnson added that Smollett paid the attackers $3,500 via check to stage the attack and that he was the person who sent the threatening "Die Black fag" letter to the Fox Studios lot.
Johnson went on to say that "absolute justice" in this case would include Smollett apologizing to the city, admitting his role in the attack, and being "man enough to offer what he should offer up in terms of all the resources put into this."
Johnson also said that while the two men did strike Smollett, many of the scratches and bruises on Smollett's face were most likely self-inflicted. Phone records show that he spoke to the Osundairo brothers, one of whom worked on Empire, about an hour before the incident and then again after.
The Chicago Police chief also called Smollett's appearance on Good Morning America, where the actor lashed out at those who didn't believe him, "shameful" and "despicable." Johnson went on to say that Smollett "took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."
The attack took place in the early hours of January 29. At the time, Smollett told police that two attackers yelled that this is "MAGA country," tied a noose around his neck, and poured bleach on him. Smollett was brought to the hospital and released later that day.