Jussie Smollett won’t be returning for the final episode of Empire, Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn has confirmed.
The actor, who played Jamal Lyon on the programme, was written out of the final two episodes of season five after being arrested for allegedly filing a false police report in which he alleged he was the victim of a hate crime.
The series will be coming to an end after the sixth and final season concludes later this year, with showrunner Brett Mahoney previously telling TVLine that Jussie’s potential return was “being discussed”.
However, in a new chat with the publication, Thorn revealed the actor won’t be returning for one last appearance after all.
“We’re not going to bring Jussie back to the show,” he said. “There were a number of factors that went into the decision to not bring him back. There were many points of view about if he should come back or if he shouldn’t. As hard as a decision as that was, for us… it felt like it was in the best interests of the show and the cast.”
He added of the controversy surrounding the star: “Our hope is that all of the controversy surrounding Jussie doesn’t overshadow the show, which we think is bigger than him.”
Last January, the 37-year-old actor claimed he was attacked by two men outside his apartment in Chicago, but in a stunning turn of events, he was subsequently charged with filing a false police report in February 2019 for allegedly staging the crime. All charges against him were unexpectedly dropped in March, and the FBI launched an investigation into the dismissal.