Actor Jussie Smollett is not set to return to US TV drama Empire for its next season after being accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack on himself, the show’s TV network has said.
Although charges against the star were dropped, authorities in Chicago have continued to insist he is guilty, saying he lied to police about the attack to boost his career.
Smollett, who has maintained his innocence, had played the character of Jamal in Empire since the first series in 2015.
Now, Fox Entertainment has confirmed the musical drama will return for a sixth season – but there are “no plans” to include the 36-year-old’s character.
The television network had already removed his scenes from the final two episodes of season five.
In a statement, Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV said: “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.”
Smollett, who is black and openly gay, maintains he was attacked. He alleges two masked men shouted homophobic and racist slurs at him before wrapping a rope around his neck and pouring an unknown substance over him.
He also told detectives they shouted he was in “MAGA country”, an apparent reference to Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan.
Mr Trump called the case an “embarrassment” for the country.
The City of Chicago has launched legal action against Smollett in a bid to recoup the cost of its investigation into the alleged attack.
The two brothers involved in the alleged attack are suing the actor’s lawyers for defamation.
Source: SKY NEWS