Fall of an "Empire": Jussie Smollett Cut From Fox Series

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But on Friday, they said in a statement that they had "decided to remove the role" from the final two episodes of the current season "to avoid further disruption on set".

In a statement, Empire EPs Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer said, "The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us".

Officials did not spell out how Smollett had hoped to boost his salary by staging such a hoax.

You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App. "20th Century Fox Television executive VP of corporate communications and publicity, Chris Alexander, confirmed that Smollett was on set filming on Thursday".

In his initial statement to the police, he claimed that two white men had jumped him and put a noose around his neck while shouting racist and homophobic slurs.

Prosecutors say that Smollett gave the brothers a $100 bill to purchase supplies for the attack, including red hats, ski masks and rope.

Smollett turned himself into police early Thursday but was released that afternoon after posting a $100,000 bond set at a hearing earlier in the day.

Chicago police say Smollett orchestrated a "publicity stunt" by hiring two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, to stage the January 29 assault because he was "dissatisfied with his salary" on "Empire". "But unfortunately that particular camera wasn't pointed in that direction".

If found guilty of the Class 4 felony, Smollett faces a prison sentence of between one to three years, but could also receive probation.

Despite Chicago PD's claims that he may have organized the attack because he was "dissatisfied with his salary" on Empire, Smollett and his lawyers maintain his innocence. He also told authorities the attackers shouted "This is MAGA country", according to CNN.

Jussie Smollett has been suspended from Fox show Empire after his arrest on Thursday morning (February 21) for making a false police report. Johnson told reporters, adding that "bogus police reports cause real harm".

The Smollett case touched off a furor in the United States as it tapped into increasingly heated political divisions since Trump's 2016 election.

"After the actor was charged on Thursday, Trump tweeted at him: "(W) hat about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and risky comments!?"

Since the alleged attack, Smollett had received support on social media, including from several celebrities and Democratic presidential candidates.

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