Jussie Smollett will not return to 'Empire,' says series co-creator Lee Daniels

PHOTO: Actor Jussie Smollett talks to the media before leaving Cook County Court after his charges were dropped, March 26, 2019, in Chicago.PlayPaul Beaty/AP, FILE
WATCH Jussie Smollett won't return to 'Empire'

Jussie Smollett will not return to "Empire" for season six, according to the series' co-creator, Lee Daniels.

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After Variety reported that writers were working him into season six storylines, citing anonymous production sources, Daniels tweeted that the story was "not factual."

"Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire," he added.

A representative for Fox had no comment.

PHOTO: Actor Jussie Smollett talks to the media before leaving Cook County Court after his charges were dropped, March 26, 2019, in Chicago. Paul Beaty/AP, FILE
Actor Jussie Smollett talks to the media before leaving Cook County Court after his charges were dropped, March 26, 2019, in Chicago.

Smollett, 36, who starred as gay musician Jamal in the Fox show, told police in January that he was the victim of what initially appeared to be a hate crime. Investigators later alleged that Smollett filed a false police report and paid two brothers to help him orchestrate the attack in an attempt to get publicity and a pay hike from the producers of "Empire." Investigators have also said they suspect that Smollett had earlier sent himself a threatening letter to the Fox studios in Chicago, now owned by ABC's parent company Disney, and was upset that it didn't garner the attention he desired.

On March 7, a Cook County grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct. Later that month, prosecutors agreed to drop all charges in exchange for Smollett forfeiting his $10,000 bond and completing community service.

The city of Chicago later filed a $130,000 lawsuit against Smollett. A lawyer for Smollett said at the time said the actor "vehemently denies" accusations of making false statements to police and "will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum."

Smollett’s character was written out of the final two episodes of season five earlier this year, though his co-stars, including Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, reportedly penned a letter to the show's producers, asking them to keep Smollett on the show. When Fox renewed "Empire" for its sixth and final season, the network indicated that Smollett's time on the show was over.

"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,'" Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV said in a joint statement in April.

21st Century Fox -- which produces EMPIRE -- is now a part of Disney, ABC News' parent company.