In more rapid developments in the Jussie Smollett controversy, the producers of Empire, the show on which Jussie stars, have confirmed that his character, Jamal Lyon, will be removed from the final two episodes of its current season.
In the announcement, which was issued through both the Associated Press and the series' Twitter account, Empire executive producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer all said that they made the executive decision to cut him "to avoid further disruption on set."
"The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us," they said in the statement, released on Friday. "Jussie has been an important member of our 'Empire' family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out."
Elsewhere in the statement, they added, "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."
This news comes after TMZ reported that Smollett apologized to the entire Empire cast and crew in an emotional on-set plea, following his court appearance on Thursday.
"I'm sorry I've put you all through this and not answered any calls," the actor reportedly told his coworkers. "I wanted to say I'm sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you. You are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this."
He was allegedly 30 minutes late for shooting due to his appearance in court, earlier that day.
As previously reported, Smollett is facing a class four felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. He stands by his claim that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago, in late January.
Take a look at the Empire producers' full statement, below:
(Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
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