Entertainment » Television

'Empire' Reportedly Cutting Smollett's Scenes in Wake of Attack Controversy

Wednesday Feb 20, 2019
Bryshere Gray, from left, Jussie Smollett, Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard appear in a scene from "Empire."
Bryshere Gray, from left, Jussie Smollett, Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard appear in a scene from "Empire."  (Source:Chuck Hodes/FOX via AP)

TMZ is reporting that Jussie Smollett's scenes in the upcoming season of "Empire" on Fox will be cut due to the controversy surrounding his alleged attack.

The out actor, who plays an openly gay singer on the drama, was going to have nine scenes and a big musical number in the second to last episode of Season 5, production sources told TMZ but that's changed. All those scenes — and the musical performance — have reportedly been nixed.

"Empire" Season 5, which will soon air the second half of the season after debuting in September, will no longer focus on Smollett's character, which will now feature an ensemble of "Empire" characters, according to TMZ, which adds the 36-year-old actor is spending less time on set because of the change.

Over the past few days, "Empire" writers have been working on the remaining Season 5 scripts.

Deadline reports producers will not change any of the episodes that were already filmed.

Last month, Smollett reported he was the victim of a racist and gay hate crime, claiming two men attacked him in downtown Chicago, hurled gay slurs at him and yelled: "Make America Great Again." He also said they poured an unknown substance on him and put a rope around his neck. But in the recent days, the Chicago Police Department said the "investigation had shifted" following interviews with two brothers allegedly involved in the incident and their release from custody without charges. Police have requested another interview with Smollett. Nevertheless, police officials have denied media reports about the attack being a hoax.

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