Jussie Smollett is currently engulfed in controversy surrounding the alleged attack on the actor that many now believe was a hoax orchestrated by the man himself. New reports now indicate the Empire star’s role on the show has been drastically cut in the wake of those accusations.
TMZ reports character Jamal Lyon was set to appear in nine scenes and a big musical number in the second to the last episode of Season Five, which is currently being shot. Five of the scenes and his performance have reportedly been cut. As for the remaining four scenes, he will no longer be the main focus.
The actor and musician’s shooting schedule has reportedly been reduced from five to two days a week, and he’ll also be skipping rehearsals with the cast.
Brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo were arrested in connection to the alleged attack but have since been released. Law enforcement sources have told CNN police now believe Smollett paid the brothers to orchestrate an assault.
Smollett denies playing a role in his attack, according to a statement from his attorneys.
“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” the statement read. “He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.