THE WORD | Jussie Smollett Removed From Empire’s Final 2 Episodes Following Arrest

On Friday, February 22, producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo andDennis Hammer revealed in a statement that Smollett, 36, will not appear in the final two episodes of the season.

The decision, producers said, was made to "avoid further disruption on set."

"The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us," the statement said. "Jussie has been an important member of our 'Empire' family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out."