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'Empire' To Be Canceled Following Jussie Smollett Drama, 'No Plans' for Him To Return

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Fox Entertainment announced on Monday that its drama “Empire,” in which actor Jussie Smollett starred, will be canceled at the end of its upcoming season.

As for the future of Smollett in the series, Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier said in a call with reporters there are currently “no plans” to bring him back, Variety reported.

“At this point, we have no plans for that,” Collier said, but also noted that “the writers room for next season hasn’t even gathered yet.”

Deadline reported that “Empire” struggled with lower than expected ratings during Season 5, which just wrapped, particularly when compared to its heady early days when the show about a media mogul’s family first launched in 2015.

In January, Smollett claimed he was the victim of a hate crime in which the actor said he was attacked by a pair or white men, one of whom he said yelled, “This is MAGA country!”

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He further alleged his assailants “poured an unknown chemical substance” on him and put a noose around his neck.

At a news conference in February, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson stated that the whole incident had been a “stunt” orchestrated by Smollett to raise his public profile “because he was dissatisfied with his salary, so he concocted a story about being attacked.”

After initially being supportive of Smollett, Fox Entertainment removed him from the final two episodes of the season of “Empire” after he was charged with filing a false police report in late February.

However, the following month, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, led by Kimberly Foxx, announced it was dropping the charges and sealing the records to the case.

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As part of a deal reached with prosecutors, Smollett agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bail to the city and perform community service.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel characterized the decision as a “whitewash of justice.”

Smollett countered that he was a victim of a rush to judgment by the Chicago Police Department and maintained the attack was not staged.

Entertainment Weekly reported that ahead of Smollett’s last appearance on “Empire” last month, members of the cast, including Terrence Howard, Taraji P Henson, Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe, and Nicole Ari Parker, sent a letter to Fox Entertainment and the show’s creative team asking he be allowed to return.

“He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped,” the cast mates wrote in their letter in support of Smollett. “We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.”

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“It’s clearer every day that the extreme political climate in our country has only made our system of justice and the court of public opinion more unjust,” they added.

On Friday, the Cook County judge assigned to decided whether a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate why Foxx’s office dropped the charges against Smollett stepped aside, Fox News reported.

Judge Leroy Martin Jr. transferred the decision to Judge Michael Toomin on Friday.

“I am not unmindful that the appearance of justice is important,” Martin said. “I think it is prudent and wise that I transfer the matter.”

Martin’s son, Leroy Martin III, is an assistant state’s attorney who has worked for Foxx for more than a year.

The move came after Sheila O’Brien, a former state appellate judge who is pushing for the special prosecutor, filed a petition requesting Martin recuse himself and let another judge rule whether a special prosecutor should be appointed.

The petition reads, in part, that Foxx by dropping the charges created “a perception that justice was not served here, that Mr. Smollett received special treatment.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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