Lee Daniels Responds To New Reports That Jussie Smollett Is Returning To 'Empire'

Lee Daniels Responds To New Reports That Jussie Smollett Is Returning To 'Empire'

He was very direct.

Published June 5, 2019

Written by Moriba Cummings

Jussie Smollett's days on Empire are over for good, and Lee Daniels is making sure nobody is confused.

The news was confirmed on Tuesday afternoon when Daniels, the show's co-creator, responded to a report from Variety that suggested Smollett was expected to return for the drama's series finale.

"This is not factual," Daniels wrote in response to the tweet. "Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire."

While Smollett's dismissal from the show has been rumored for months following his widespread scandal in February 2019, Daniels' blunt Twitter response is the first indication that he would not be back for the concluding episodes of the popular Fox series.

The studio previously said in a statement that there were "no plans" for the embattled actor to return as Jamal Lyon, though his contract had been extended to possibly entertain the option in the future.

The first signs of Smollett's exit came when it was announced that he was written out of the final two episodes of its fifth season. This news came following his February arrest for allegedly filing a false police report where he claimed he was the victim of a hate crime. Though all charges made against the actor have since been dropped, the city of Chicago is demanding he reimburse them for $130,000 in investigatory fees — a demand he has refused to see through.

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(Photos from left: Karwai Tang/Getty Images, Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)

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