Uncertainty over Jussie Smollett’s future keeping Empire in turmoil
The trials and tribulations of actor Jussie Smollett, under indictment for charges related to allegedly arranging a fake attack on himself, is tripping up season six of TV’s Empire, Variety is reporting.
Smollett’s character, Jamal Lyon, on the show which also stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard could be killed off or the role could be recast, Variety reports sources are saying.
Promotional clips have included only fleeting glimpses of Jamal Lyon, Variety adds.
A source close to the show, however, told Variety that this sort of treatment is not unusual with promotional video since they focus on the show’s stars.
Cast and crew are anxious over the development’s involving Smollett, 36, because shows are typically renewed in January and Fox still has not renewed Empire for a sixth’s season, TMZ reported.
The show co-created by film industry giant Lee Daniels already has announced that Smollett will be cut from the final two episodes of the current season.
Smollett was indicted on 16 counts of filing a false police report in connection with an assault he alleges took place in the early morning hours of Jan. 29 in Chicago.
The actor said he was attacked by two men who beat him, shouted homophobic slurs at him and poured bleach on him. He said they used the phrase “MAGA country” during the alleged assault — an apparent reference to “Make America Great Again,” the campaign slogan of President Trump.
As Smollett recuperated in a Chicago hospital, questions began to bubble up on social media about the veracity of his claims. The questions intensified as brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo emerged to claim that Smollett paid them to stage the alleged attack.
The Chicago Police Department has told reporters that they believe Smollett staged the attack in order to draw attention to himself because he was dissatisfied with his salary at Empire. The police agency also has said it believes that Smollett sent a threatening letter to himself at the Chicago production office of Empire, Variety reported.