Fox CEO Charlie Collier has announced his final decision about Jussie Smollett’s return to “Empire” after he was accused of staging a hate attack on himself.
The 37-year-old actor — who played musician Jamal Lyon in the drama — was accused of having orchestrated a racist and homophobic attack on himself back in January, and although charges against him have been dropped, a judge appointed a special prosecutor to the case in June, who could still bring new criminal charges against him.
Following the allegations, it was claimed that Smollett would not be returning to his role on the Fox TV show, and as it now prepares to air its final season next month, the network’s CEO has confirmed Smollett won’t be involved.
Speaking at Fox’s Television Critics Association tour on Wednesday, Aug. 7, Collier said: “We as much as anything in a case like this, you try to get all the information and make a good decision. [Creator Lee Daniels] is right, there’s no plans for Jussie to return to ‘Empire’ … typically it’s about gathering right info and making sure we’re making the right decisions.”
Collier’s comments come after “Empire” creator Lee Daniels admitted he was “beyond embarrassed” to have initially defended Jussie in the wake of the allegations.
He said in June: “I’m beyond embarrassed. I think that when it happened, I had a flash of me running from bullies. I had a flash of my whole life, of my childhood, my youth, getting beaten.
“Of course, there’s some doubt. I’m telling you that because I love him so much. That’s the torture that I’m in right now because it’s literally if it were to happen to your son and your child, how would you feel? You would feel, Please, God, please let there be that glimmer of hope that there is some truth in this story. That’s why it’s been so painful. It was a flood of pain.”
Jussie — who had played Jamal since the beginning of the show — was indicted in March on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report claiming he was attacked by two men in Chicago in January.
He pleaded not guilty, and charges were eventually dropped later that month.