(JTA) — The character played by actor Jussie Smollett will not return to the series “Empire,” Fox Entertainment said.
“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,’” the studio said in a statement Tuesday.
Earlier the same day, Fox announced that the series had been renewed for its sixth season.
Smollett, who is black, gay and Jewish, had been written out of the final two episodes of the show’s fifth season.
In early March, Smollett was indicted by a grand jury in Chicago on 16 felony counts related to making a false police report after he said he was the victim of a hate attack. He continues to assert his innocence.
Two weeks later the criminal charges were dropped, the case was sealed and Smollett’s record expunged. The Chicago Prosecutor’s Office said that Smollett had performed community service and forfeited his $100,000 bond.
A week ago, top cast members of “Empire” sent a letter to Fox Entertainment and Disney executives calling for Smollett to be brought back for the show’s next season.