10:59 GMT +322 July 2019
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    Empire actor Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail following his release, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, in Chicago. Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct and filling a false police report when he said he was attacked in downtown Chicago by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck, a police official said

    Jussie Smollett Won’t Appear on Fox’s Empire Amid Legal Controversy

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    After the Fox television network renewed its musical soap opera “Empire” for a sixth season, the studio made a statement that Smollett's character will not be back — at least for now.

    "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,'" the statement made to BuzzFeed News by Fox and 20th Century Fox reads.

    Earlier Smollett reportedly had lunch meetings with "Empire" executives, telling TMZ afterwards he was feeling "pride" about his work on the show. 

    Smollett was accused of filing a false police report about a hate crime. Smollett told the police that he was attacked by two masked men who he said doused him with a chemical substance and placed a thin rope around his neck. He also said that the attackers were shouting “This is MAGA country!” before fleeing. However, Chicago police said after interviewing two brothers identified as persons of interest in the case that Smollett paid the duo $3,500 to orchestrate the attack.

    READ MORE: State Attorney Chief Staffers Resign Following Smollett Case Controversy

    When Smollett first alleged he was attacked, Fox and 20th Century Fox stood by him, and a number of celebrities (including Viola Davis, John Legend, and Empire co-creator Lee Daniels) and politicians (Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Nancy Pelosi) also rallied to his side. However, as new facts around Smollett’s case were revealed, support for him became less vocal. Smollett's character, Jamal, was written out of Empire's final two episodes of the season in what appeared to be a suspension.

    Earlier this month, the city of Chicago filed a lawsuit against Smollett after he refused to reimburse police for overtime costs related to the investigation.

    Related:

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    ‘Empire’ Star Says Jussie Smollett Won’t Be Fired Over Staged Hate Crime Hoax
    Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Jussie Smollett Accused of Hate Crime Hoax
    Robert 'Beto' O'Rourke Enters the 2020 Race; Jussie Smollett Back on 'Empire'
    US Actor Jussie Smollett Indicted on 16 Felony Counts
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    staged attack, Empire, Fox, Jussie Smollett, United States
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