‘Empire’ Toys With Bringing Back Jussie Smollett Just To Fire Him Again

The creators of ‘Empire” are reportedly considering bringing back Jussie Smollett, who was fired from the show after allegedly contriving a hoax hate crime in January of 2019, just to end the series and leave him jobless yet again.
TVLine reports that “Empire” showrunner Brett Mahoney wants Smollett to come back just for the series finale because, he says, it just wouldn’t make sense for the show to end without one of its main characters present for the finale.
“It would be weird in my mind to end this family show and this family drama of which he was such a significant part of without seeing him,” Mahoney told TVLine. “It’s fair to say it’s being discussed, but there’s no plan as of yet to bring him back. There’s been no decision made.” 
Smollett played Jamal, a musician, singer, and the son of the main character, record executive Lucious. Jamal was written out of the show in a series of episodes at the end of season five, which had him marrying his longtime partner and moving to London. Showrunners then cut his scenes from the show’s two-part season finale. ‘Empire’ no longer references Smollett’s character at all, but because the series is likely to end on a “family crisis” — a plotline the show has been building to since its pilot episode — presumably Smollett’s character and his now-husband would return for a short appearance.
A return to “Empire” — even a short one — would probably be considered a “win” for Smollett, who was booted from the series after being charged with sixteen counts of lying to Chicago police in a series of official reports stemming from what Smollett claims was a “hate crime” perpetrated against him back in January of 2019.
Smollett told police that he was attacked near his apartment in Chicago’s tony Streeterville neighborhood, by two white, partially masked men wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. He claimed, at the time, that the two men assaulted him, beat him, threw a “noose” around his neck, and then taunted him with racial and homophobic slurs before disappearing into the night. According to Smollett’s narrative, the pair concluded their attack with the words, “This is MAGA country.”
After a two-week investigation, Chicago police detectives concluded that Smollett conspired with a pair of extras he met on the “Empire” set — two Nigerian-American bodybuilders — to stage the “hate crime” in order to raise his profile as an actor and, hopefully, earn himself a pay raise for his “Empire” role. He was charged with lying to police, but the charges were dropped in a controversial, unofficial “plea deal” Smollett inked with Chicago prosecutors. 
Although his “Empire” bosses backed Smollett in the beginning of his ordeal, even as Smollett’s story began to unravel, show creator Lee Daniels fired Smollett from “Empire” after he was charged by CPD. He even told TVLine at the time that Smollett wouldn’t be welcomed back to the show, even if it became necessary to track down and update audiences about his character.
“Jussie will NOT be returning to ‘Empire,'” Daniels tweeted back in June.
Smollett’s personal ordeals are far from over. The City of Chicago sued him for around $100,000 in police overtime, accumulated while detectives investigated what the city calls Smollett’s “hoax” hate crime, and a judge recently allowed the case to move forward toward trial in May of 2020. The FBI and the United States Postal Service are reportedly still investigating a letter, sent to Smollett at “Empire’s” Chicago set, which contained a “white powdery substance” later determined to be crushed Tylenol. Smollett is also suspected to be behind that letter.
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