Empire producers plan to suspend Jussie Smollett (EXCLUSIVE) – Variety

Fox plans to remove Jussie Smollett from production on "Empire." Sources close to production said Variety that producers are wondering whether to suspend the actor after he was accused Wednesday in Chicago of filing a false police report.

A spokesman for 20th Century Fox Television, which produces the series, declined to comment.

On January 29, Smollett told police that he had been attacked by two men who had poured him an unknown chemical, slung a rope around his neck and used racist and homophobic slurs. Chicago police finally interviewed two brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, who were close to the event. The two men were arrested and interrogated, then released. Chicago local media reported that the brothers had told the detectives that Smollett had paid them to stage the attack.

According to the Cook County Attorney's Office, Smollett is scheduled to appear in court for a bail hearing at 13:30. CT Thursday. Smollett also has to work Thursday on the set of "Empire" in Chicago. According to a production source, on Wednesday night, there was no plan to change the filming schedule for the series.

Earlier, Fox had backed Smollett, issuing two statements of support during the investigation and contradicting media reports that he was about to be fired from "Empire". "Previously stated, it's not out of the series," said 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment in a statement Wednesday.

On February 14, Danny Strong, executive producer of Empire, wrote on Twitter: "There is 0% truth about the fact that @JussieSmollett was going to be struck off Empire. This rumor is totally false. He is the third leading role and one of the most beloved characters in the series. To remove it from the series has never been discussed. "

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