Jussie Smollett’s character has been cut from the rest of Empire’s fifth season one day after he was arrested for allegedly faking a hate crime against him last month. The actor has played the role of Jamal Lyon, the openly gay middle son of a hip-hop mogul, since the show’s inception in 2014.
“The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us. Jussie has been an important member of our EMPIRE family for the past five years and we care about him deeply,” the show said in a statement Friday. “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.”