While rumors still swirl around the nature of the Jussie Smollett attack, one thing that is for certain: We will not see that much of him on this upcoming season. According to TMZ, his screen time on the second to the last episode of the season is “getting slashed,” as production points to the new evidence that Smollett orchestrated his own attack.
Originally, the hit series’ star was scheduled to appear in nine scenes and perform one big musical number in the second to last episode. Sources tell TMZ that five of the scenes and the musical have been slashed. It actually appears that the entire script has been changed. The four scenes that he is in are ensembles and do not feature him as a primary character to the narrative.
This is probably best as the production has to shift the attention from the press discombobulation that is currently attached to Smollett.
Smollett is an original cast member of Empire. He plays Jamal Lyons, the show’s primary male R&B singer, who has to come to terms with sexuality within the toxically masculine family dynamic that his father promotes.
While taping the current season, Smollett reported that he was attacked late night while going to Subways for a snack. The attack was allegedly by two men that yelled “MAGA Country” at him, as well as racial and homophobic slurs. In addition to the beating, the attackers allegedly poured substance that smelled like bleach and hung a noose around his neck. Many were outraged at the attack and took to social media to protest. As the investigation progressed, doubts started to emerge and his story was questioned by critics, fans and law enforcement. Chicago police even questioned two African men, who claim that they were paid to stage an attack.