The producers of Empire have decided to remove Jussie Smollett‘s character from the last two episodes of the season following his arrest in order to “avoid further disruption on set.”
The show is filming its fifth season finale in Chicago. Smollett plays Jamal, a successful singer in the musical Lyon family. Like his character, Smollett is gay.
In a statement producers said,
“The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us.Jussie has been an important member of our ‘Empire’ family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out.“
It was signed by seven producers, including Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, and showrunner Brett Mahoney.
Chicago police allege Smollett paid two men $3,500 to stage an attack on him last month.
Under Illinois law, filing a false police report is disorderly conduct and punishable by one to three years in prison.
Investigators believe Smollett orchestrated the attack in part, “because he was dissatisfied with his salary,” Chicago police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said Thursday.
Smollett was released on $100,000 bond Thursday and had to give up his passport.
CNN reported that after his release, Smollett reported to the set of Empire, where he apologized to the cast and crew for any embarrassment the allegations may have caused but he maintained his innocence.