“I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me.”
Jussie Smollett’s character will be written off Fox’s “Empire.”
The executive producers of the hit TV show, including Lee Daniels, issued a statement Friday morning saying they have decided to remove Smollett’s character, Jamal, from the last two episodes of the season.
While the producers claimed to “care deeply” about Smollett, they called the allegations against him “very disturbing and said they wanted to avoid “further disruption” on set.
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TNT also told ABC News they are pulling an episode of “Drop the Mic” Smollett was a part of.
Jussie Smollett had returned to the set of Fox’s “Empire” on Thursday. But filming had to be put on hold because it was obvious that the actor had been heavily crying, sources told TMZ.
At one point, Smollett managed to pull himself together and address the cast and crew, according to a number of reports.
“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,” Smollett said. “I swear to God, I did not do this.”
Smollett turned himself over to police Thursday on a felony charge of filing a false police report. Chicago police, a judge, and President Donald Trump took turns publicly lambasting Smollett for allegedly orchestrating a fake racist attack against himself and sending himself a racist letter as a “publicity stunt.” According to police, the actor was dissatisfied with the salary he was making on “Empire” and wanted more attention.
He was later released on $100,000 bail.
Smollett’s legal team said in a statement: “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. Mr. Smollett 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.”
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Smollett’s castmates are reportedly divided in their feelings toward him. Many actors are “fucking furious” at Smollett for betraying their trust and damaging the show’s image, TMZ said. Several had reportedly wanted him to quit or be fired.
On the other hand, some actors have stood with the actor.
In a since-deleted Instagram post Wednesday, Smollett’s “Empire” costar Gabby Sidibe said: “I know him, I believe him, I stand with him. #jussiesmollett.” She also cited a Malcom X’s quote warning that the media oppresses black people.
“This is the media, an irresponsible media. It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and the victim look like he’s the criminal,” the quote reads. “If you aren’t careful, the media, the media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
Smollett is due back in court on March 14, where he will enter a plea. If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison and substantial fines.
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