Jussie Smollett will not return for the series finale of “Empire.”
Fox News reports, there was speculation that Jussie Smollett might make one final return to the series that he exited nearly a year ago. But Fox Entertainment boss Michael Thorn told TVLine, that the actor would not reprise his role after being written out of the show.
“We’re not going to bring Jussie back to the show,” Thorn 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.”
Smollett, 37, left the show toward the end of last season, shortly after Chicago law enforcement accused Smollett of staging a high-profile hate crime against himself in early 2019. The producers, wrote Smollett out of the final episodes of Season 5 despite protests from Smollett’s supporters on the cast.
“Our hope is that all of the controversy surrounding Jussie doesn’t overshadow the show, which we think is bigger than him,” Thorn said.
Last month, showrunner Brett Mahoney said that Smollett’s return was being “discussed.”
“It would be weird in my mind to end this family show and this family drama of which he was such a significant part of without seeing him,” Mahoney said. “It’s fair to say it’s being discussed, but there’s no plan as of yet to bring him back. There’s been no decision made.”
In Jan. 2019, the actor claimed around 2 a.m. he was beaten up by two masked men, wearing red MAGA hats who hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, poured acid on him and tied a noose around his neck. Smollett was later accused of fabricating the attack and charged with making a false police report, by Chicago police.
Prosecutors dropped the case in March. Smollett maintained his innocence but agreed to let authorities keep the $10,000 bail.