Jussie Smollett has been removed from the final two episodes of Empire‘s fifth season, following his arrest on Thursday morning.
The actor was arrested on charges of filing a false police report, amid allegations that he paid two men to stage a racist and homophobic attack against him.
In an official statement, Fox said: “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.
“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.”
The final decision was reportedly taken by series executives Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Sanaa Hamri, Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, and Dennis Hammer.
The original attack occurred in January and saw Smollett claiming that two men had tied a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him.
But while two men were later arrested by police, they were released without charge and Jussie was arrested after it was alleged he paid the men.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2019
Last night, President Trump also waded into the debate surrounding Smollett and accused him of making “racist and dangerous comments.”
In a press conference on Thursday, Chicago Police said they believed Smollett staged the attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” on Empire.