Jussie Smollett suspended from Empire TV show


The Fox drama has suspended Jussie Smollett in the wake of the actor's arrest for allegedly staging last month's hate-crime attack against himself.

"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system", the statement read.

Jussie Smollett will not appear in the final two episodes of Empire, the shows executive producers have said. Everyone at Empire reportedly believed Smollett when he said he was the victim of a hate crime, and now, in light of the alleged evidence brought forth by the Chicago Police Department, they feel betrayed.

Smollett has maintained that he did not make the story up.His attorneys promised an "aggressive defence" in a statement issued after Cook County state's attorney's office approved a felony disorderly conduct charge against Smollett.

Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi announced the news on Thursday, noting the Empire actor had turned himself in.

Smollett, who is black and gay, told police he was physically attacked by two men who shouted homophobic and racial slurs at him before beating him up and throwing some kind of chemical on him the early morning of January 29.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to three years in prison and made to pay for the cost of the police investigation. At the time, Smollett claimed two men attacked him in the streets of Chicago with some kind of chemical substance.

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A judge set bail at $100,000 on Thursday and ordered Smollett to surrender his passport.

"Trump responded on Thursday after Smollett was charged, tweeting: "(W) hat about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and risky comments!?"

The studio's statement followed reports that Smollett's role was being slashed amid the police investigation.

In the past week, Chicago investigators learned that this attack may have been staged by Smollett.

Referring to a published account of the attack, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that "it doesn't get worse, as far as I'm concerned". And they're also said to be "worried" about how Smollett's alleged actions may impact Empire.

On Thursday, he tweeted to Smollett: "What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and risky comments!?"

Police know much of this, they said, because Chicago has one of the world's most extensive video surveillance systems. "There are still some questions that we have, some answers that have to be given", she said.