20th Century Fox issued another statement Wednesday defending Empire actor Jussie Smollett in response to growing allegations that he staged his Jan. 29 attack and is being written off the show as a result.
“Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show” the company said. The statement comes a day after reports surfaced that Smollett’s screen time had been slashed by producers, and follows a week of rapid and often unconfirmed updates into the investigation. Earlier this week, CBS Chicago reported that Smollett paid two Nigerian brothers to stage the assault, and may even have rehearsed the incident beforehand. Smollett continues to deny any foul play, and insists the attack was real.
Chicago’s top prosecutor, Kim Foxx, recused herself from the investigation on Tuesday, shortly after police requested another interview with Smollett. “Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case,” said Foxx spokeswoman Tandra Simonton, who did not specify how Foxx was familiar with anyone in the case.