Jussie Smollett reportedly returned to the Empire set immediately after posting bail and apologized to the cast and crew over his alleged hoax attack.
According to TMZ, Smollett was scheduled to shoot a scene for the series, but made a heartfelt plea before filming it.
"I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. 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 said, per sources who spoke with TMZ.
Smollett has since been dropped from the series for the remainder of the season, with producers issuing a joint statement about their decision to let him go.
Jussie Smollett will no longer appear on Empire, the show's producers confirm.
The news comes a day after the actor was arrested and charged by Chicago police for allegedly filing a false police report in a hate crime attack hoax. //t.co/dhIkggLgs2— Vox (@voxdotcom) February 22, 2019
“The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us” said Empire executives Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer in a statement published by Variety.
“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. 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.”
Following his bail hearing and release, Smollett's legal team issued a new statement on his case, again reaffirming his declaration of innocence.
"Mr. Smollet is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing," the statement read.0comments
"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election,” the statement concluded.
If convicted of filing a false police report, Smollett potentially faces up to three years in prison.