Lee Daniels Says Jussie Smollett Will Not Be Back on Empire Despite 'Not Factual' Reports
Lee Daniels is setting the record straight.
Daniels spoke out about Jussie Smollett’s future on Empire on Tuesday, confirming that the actor will not appear in the sixth and final season.
Responding to an article claiming Empire writers were “prepping” for Smollett’s return, Daniels tweeted, “This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire.”
In April, Fox announced that it has “no plans” for Jussie Smollett‘s character to return. The news comes three months after Smollett alleged he was the victim of a hate crime (and police accused him of staging the attack himself).
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV said, “By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire.“
Following the news, a rep for Smollett told The Hollywood Reporter, “We’ve been told Jussie will not be on Empire in the beginning of the season but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal’s future open. Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and Empire leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”
Smollett starred as Jamal Lyon on the show since it premiered in 2015.
The network later announced that the new season premiering this fall will be the last.
The actor, who faced intense scrutiny and backlash, had pleaded not guilty to allegations that he lied to police when he said he was attacked in what authorities later claimed was a staged incident to draw attention to himself. At the end of March, all charges against Smollett were suddenly dropped.