Fox released a statement this morning regarding Jussie Smollett but didn’t include information on whether he will have a job with the show next season:
“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. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out.”
The statement continues with information about dropping Smollett from the last two episodes of the show:
“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.”
TMZ reports that the cast has animosity towards Smollett who they backed throughout the investigation into the supposed “racist and homophobic” attack on him. They now feel that they’ve been betrayed by Smollett and want him axed from the show.
The case says, according to TMZ sources, that the show’s reputation has been damaged and that it could continue to tarnish the image of the show if Smollett is still on the show.
TMZ is also reporting that there are still a few cast members who believe Smollett’s story.
Smollett was released yesterday on $100,000 bond. His lawyers released a statement declaring his innocence even though a grand jury saw all of the evidence and believed they had everything they needed to charge Smollett.
The Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson spoke out about Smollett yesterday with a blistering condemnation:
He began by discussing the victims of Chicago crime and how he wishes they would get more attention:
“I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention because that’s who really deserves the amount of attention that we’re giving to this particular incident.”
He went on to slam Smollett for the “publicity stunt” he orchestrated.
"Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career." Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson said. "Why would anyone, especially an African American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?" https://t.co/MfyQuQi1uf pic.twitter.com/SZXL5Hka0c
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 21, 2019
He held nothing back in his statement:
Supt. Eddie Johnson: I’ve lived in the city of Chicago my entire life. We just don’t have any room for hatred in this city. To be used for personal gain is “shameful.”
“It’s shameful”…”It’s just despicable”… “It makes you wonder what’s going on in someone’s mind to be able to do something like that.”
JUST IN: Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson: Jussie Smollett "paid $3,500 to stage this attack…The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary." https://t.co/5AiMcfe6iH pic.twitter.com/0za7CEbVtv
— ABC News (@ABC) February 21, 2019
Eddie Johnson’s statement reveals that he’s not playing with the people who continue to make Smollett out to be the victim. His concern for victims of future hate crimes was expressed:
“I’m also concerned about what this means moving forward for hate crimes. My concern is that hate crimes will now publicly be met with a level of skepticism that previously didn’t happen.”