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Jussie Smollett Will Not Return to ‘Empire’ in the Fall

Jussie Smollett not returning to "Empire" in the fall.

“[A]t this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire."

Jussie Smollett will not return to Empire this fall.

Fox announced on Wednesday that there are "no plans" for the actor to step back into the role of Jamal Lyons when the television series, now in its fifth season, returns this fall, Reuters reports.

"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," 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment said in a statement.

They did extend Smollett's contract for the sixth season, which suggests that he might come back at some point. But for now, it looks like he won't.

"[Jussie is] grateful to Fox and Empire leadership, cast, crew, and fans for their unwavering support," a spokesperson for the actor told Reuters.

The news comes after Smollett, who is gay, claimed that two men shouting racist, homophobic slurs attacked him in Chicago earlier this year. Following an investigation, the Chicago Police Department accused the actor of fabricating the attack, though he maintained his innocence the entire time. Cook County prosecutors eventually dropped all charges against Smollett, but the city of Chicago recently sued the actor for damages.

It's unclear if Smollett's leaving Empire has anything to do with these events or his recent news coverage, but it seems likely.

Smollett's Empire character, Jamal Lyon, is also gay -- one of only 28 LGBTQ+, Black characters on network television, per GLAAD.

RELATED | Chicago Is Suing Jussie Smollett for Cost of Investigation

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