Jussie Smollett has been accused of staging his own assault.
Following his arrest, some of Jussie's Empire castmates demanded that he be fired.
They have gotten their wish. On Friday, FOX announced that Jussie is out for the rest of the season.
On Friday, Executive Producers Lee Daniels and Danny strong released a statement on Jussie Smollett's status on Empire.
Along with EPs Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo, and Dennis Hammer, they said:
"The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us," the statement begins.
"Jussie has been an important member of our EMPIRE family for the past five years," the showrunners affirm.
"And," the statement continues. "We care about him deeply."
That affection has been complicated by his alleged deception, which has his friends and colleagues feeling betrayed and angry.
"While these allegations are very disturbing," the statement continues.
The showrunners emphasize: "we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out."
"We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show," the statement acknowledges.
"And to avoid further disruption on set," the Executive Producers write.
They continue: "we have decided to remove the role of 'Jamal' from the final two episodes of the season."
That is a complicated decision.
Late last month, Jussie reported to police that he was the victim of a vicious hate crime.
Apparently targeted for his fame, sexuality, and race, Jussie said that he was beaten, placed in a noose, and that bleach was poured on him.
Unfortunately, Chicago Police determined that he had staged the assault himself.
He allegedly paid two brothers to do so, and paid them for their efforts by check -- and also called them on his cell phone.
In addition to general disappointment that someone would allegedly fake such a heinous crime, many are bewildered.
Years of watching police procedurals have most people expecting tracks to be covered a little more thoroughly than that.
Jussie has maintained his innocence, and his attorneys released a statement to that effect.
"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle," his attorney said on Thursday.
Jussie's arrest and public malignment, his attorney says, is something "that has no place in the American legal system."
"The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon," his attorney claims.
This was done "at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election."
Jussie's attorney is suggesting that his arrest by the (famously accused of racism) Chicago Police Department was a political stunt.
"Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity," his attorney insists.
Jussie is a man "who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence," the attorney notes.
Even when he apologized to his castmates for their current troubles, he insisted that he would never do this to them.
"And," his attorney concluded, Jussie "feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing."
What a complicated, upsetting case.
Presumably, if he is vindicated, he will be welcomed onto Empire with open arms.
And maybe even if he isn't.
After all, Ryan Lochte famously claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint, causing an international incident. He was later invited to multiple interviews.
Just saying. What Jussie is accused of doing is serious, but not unprecedented.