Scenes featuring Jussie Smollett on the hit TV show “Empire” have been drastically cut amid the whirlwind of controversy surrounding his alleged hate attack, according to a report Tuesday.
The actor, who plays gay singer-songwriter Jamal Lyon on the show, was supposed to have nine scenes and a big musical performance in the second-to-last episode of Season 5, production sources told TMZ.
But five scenes and the musical number have been axed.
Smollett’s character is also no longer the focus of his remaining four scenes, which will now feature an ensemble of characters.
The 36-year-old actor is spending far less time on set as a result. He’ll be working Friday and possibly Thursday but won’t be rehearsing.
“Empire” scriptwriters have been scrambling over the last 24 hours to revise this season’s scripts.
Smollett claims he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack near his Chicago apartment on Jan. 29, but suspicion has since emerged that he paid two friends to help stage the assault.
There’s a 50/50 chance that a grand jury will begin weighing an indictment as early as Tuesday, TMZ said. Smollett could be charged with felony of filing a false police report.
SOURCE: Page Six – Lia Eustachewich