The Rumor is False: Jussie Smollett Will Not Be Returning to ‘Empire’

Jussie Smollett was accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack on himself earlier this year. He was charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false report allegedly staging the incident.

Upon this charge, Smollett was greeted with a blast of criticism.

“Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson at an emotional press conference. “I am left hanging my head asking ‘why?’. Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? … How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in the city in the face with these false claims?”

Jussie Smollett | Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images
Jussie Smollett | Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Then, in late March, an emergency hearing was held in a Cook County courtroom in Illinois and all criminal charges were dropped against the former Empire actor.

This decision was, again, met with anger and frustration from the community.

“A person using hate crime laws that are on the books to protect people who are minorities, and you turn around and use them to advance your career? Is there no decency in this man?” asked Mayor Emanuel at a news conference in response to the dropped charges.

Suffice to say, Jussie Smollett’s reputation has been forever tarnished, especially in Hollywood.

‘Empire’ creator Lee Daniels: ‘Jussie will NOT be returning’

There was a rumor going around that Smollett would once again be joining his fellow Empire actors, even after everything that took place.

Empire creator, Lee Daniels, shot down the media report that Smollett would be returning for the final season.

“This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire,” Daniels said in a tweet to Variety after the publication reported: “‘Empire’ writers prepping for Jussie Smollett’s return in Season 6.”

When Smollett was first accused of staging his own hate crime, he was in the midst of filming the fifth season of Empire. When the allegations came out, he was written out of the final episodes of the season. Though he was written out, the show’s writers left the door open just enough for a possible return of Smollett’s character. Back in April, Daniels said it was still being considered whether Smollett’s character would be included in the final season.

“There are only two judges — God and that man that wears a robe. And I cannot judge. I can only have compassion,” he said.

At the time, Smollett was thankful for the chance of possibly appearing in the final season.

“We’ve been told that Jussie will not be on ‘Empire’ in the beginning of the season, but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal’s future open. Most importantly, he is grateful to Fox and ‘Empire’ leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support,” a spokesperson for Smollett said in a statement.

In regards to the final season of Empire, Charlie Collier, CEO of Fox Entertainment, told reporters earlier this week: “One of the great benefits of announcing a final season is to allow the fans to lean in and to have the ending they deserve, and that’s everything we’re trying to do with this iconic series. Six years is a pretty remarkable run for a drama series and we feel good about it.”

Apparently, the ending fans deserve doesn’t include Smollett.