Last month, Fox’s Empire executives were debating whether Jussie Smollett should return for the show’s final season as a way to cohesively end the series sixth and final chapter. Jussie was booted off the show after he was accused of staging a racial and homophobic attack on himself in Chicago, which lead the actor to be sued by the city. “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,” showrunner Brett Mahoney said of the debate.
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Page Six now reports that a decision has been made and Jussie will not be returning as the network believes he would “overshadow” the show that’s “bigger than him.”
“There were many points of view about if he should come back or if he shouldn’t,” Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn explained. Ultimately it was decided that his scandal was simply too damaging.
“As hard as a decision as that was, for us — and when I say us I mean the network, the studio and the producers — it felt like it was in the best interests of the show and the cast,” Michael added. “Our hope is that all of the controversy surrounding Jussie doesn’t overshadow the show, which we think is bigger than him,”