On Wednesday night, Empire continued its post-hiatus return, featuring Jussie Smollett in his role as Jamal Lyon. The star’s continued legal battle has caused turmoil behind the scenes of the show. As such, Empire creator Lee Daniels took to Instagram ahead of Wednesday night’s episode to address the Smollett fallout and the effect it’s had on the cast and crew.
“These past couple of weeks have been a freaking roller coaster,” Daniels said. “Me and my cast have experienced pain and anger and sadness and frustration, and really don’t know how to deal with it, you know.”
On March 14, Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 felony charges in Chicago and is due back in court in April. Prosecutors claim that Smollett hired two brothers to stage a racial and homophobic attack against him, hoping the highly publicized attack would help him secure a better salary on Empire and advance his career.
While Smollett vehemently denies all charges against him, Daniels expressed disappointment that Smollett has caused a distraction from the show’s purpose.
“This is not what the show was made for,” Daniels said. “The show was made to bring America together. To talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets.”
In February, Fox and Empire’s producers released a statement that Smollett’s character would be removed from the final two episodes of the show.
“Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply,” the statement read. “While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out. We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season.”
Fans are eagerly anticipating how Empire’s writers will write the character off the show and sounded off with tweets about Smollett during Wednesday’s episode.
Jussie singing “Gone Gone Gone”
And he’s going to jail pic.twitter.com/xyWwHnlLGN
— ♚Juke (@jukeMOBS) March 21, 2019
I Need At Least 1 More Jamal & Hakeem song before Jamal suddenly disappears or gets killed off the show 😭 #EmpireFox
— 🥀 (@ForeverKiaaaa) March 21, 2019
Unfortunately, Wednesday night’s episode didn’t reveal any clues as to how Smollett’s character will be written off the show. We’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.
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Jussie Smollett’s controversial return to ‘Empire’ gets mocked on Twitter:
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