Jussie Smollett's character cut from "Empire" for end of season

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin

/ CBS News

Smollett maintains innocence in alleged hoax

The executive producers of the television series "Empire" are removing Jussie Smollett's character from the last two episodes of the show's season "to avoid further disruption on set." "The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us," seven producers said in a statement Friday.

The move to take the character, Jamal, off the show follows Smollett's arrest. Authorities say he orchestrated an attack against him as a "publicity stunt" because he was dissatisfied with his salary.

"While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out," the producers said.

Smollett gave detailed instructions to two brothers who helped carry out the staged attack against him in downtown Chicago, where "Empire is filmed, prosecutors said Friday. He allegedly gave them specific slurs to yell and told them to shout "MAGA country" and drape a rope around his neck.

Smollett, who is black and gay, had described the January 29 attack to police as racist and homophobic.

On Wednesday he was charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. He was arrested and released Thursday on bond, which a judge set at $100,000.

Empire actor Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail after posting bond on February 21, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

First published on February 22, 2019 / 11:11 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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