Jussie Smollett's Scenes Have Been Cut Down On Empire Amid Hate Crime Hoax Claims
Empire star Jussie Smollett’s shocking scandal is now affecting his screen time on the popular Fox drama. According to a new report, show writers are cutting Smollet’s scenes as they shoot the last few episodes of Season 5. If police discover that this was all a hoax, will the writers write Smollett off the show completely?
TMZ is reporting that Smollett was supposed to shoot nine major scenes and a musical for a string of episodes at the end of the fifth season, but now he will only appear in eight scenes with other characters. Anonymous production sources claim that writers are making changes and filling the gaps created by Smollet’s altered storyline, and his on-set call times have been drastically reduced.
It is not yet clear if the writers will completely write off his character.
Smollett plays Jamal Lyon, one of the sons of music mogul Lucious Lyon, played by Terrence Howard.
After claiming that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime on January 29th, it now looks like Smollett could be facing felony charges for filing a false police report. The 36-year-old actor still maintains that he was a victim of an attack as Chicago police continue to investigate.
Last week, police questioned brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo - acquaintances of Smollett - about the attack but released them without charges after they told investigators that Smollett paid them to attack him. After they released the brothers, police said the investigation had “shifted.”
The brothers say that they are not racist, homophobic, or anti-Trump, and Smollett has released a statement saying it is “impossible” that they were involved. In a tearful interview last week, Smollett insisted that he was telling the truth and hopes the police find surveillance footage to confirm his story.
According to the Daily Mail, insiders at the Chicago police say that Smollett made up the attack because he wanted more publicity and was afraid he was being written off of Empire.
After Smollett received an outpouring of support from other celebrities when news of the attack broke, some are starting to express their disappointment and disbelief at the possible hoax.
Cardi B spoke out on Instagram this past weekend, saying Smollett had “ruined Black History Month,” and if he is lying about the attack, it is “really f****d up.”
Others are staying silent until more information is available, so they don’t pass quick judgment again. Even though it looks like this all could be a hoax on Smollett’s part, there are still questions about the Chicago Police Department, who has a less-than-spectacular history when it comes to race relations.
One thing is for sure, this story about Jussie Smollett is far from over.