Fox has announced they will be renewing drama series Empire for a sixth season, but will not include Jussie Smollett’s character, reported Reuters.
The announcement was made on Tuesday (April 30), and it seems that Smollett’s future on the show is shaky after he was accused of faking a racist and homophobic hate crime – even though his contract was extended.
“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,” said a statement from 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment.
The company didn’t site any reason for the decision.
Representatives for the actor released a press statement saying that the actor was grateful to the studio and Empire team.
“We’ve been told that 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,” the statement said. “Most importantly, he is grateful to Fox and Empire leadership, cast, crew, and fans for their unwavering support.”
Chicago police accused the out gay actor of faking his own hate crime, but Smollett maintained his innocence and the charges were eventually dropped in March. The City of Chicago ended up filing a lawsuit in April seeking financial damages related to the investigation, however Smollett’s attorney said he wouldn’t “be intimidated” into paying them.