Fox Entertainment said Tuesday that Jussie Smollett will not return to his series Empire next season in the wake of allegations by Chicago officials the actor lied about a racially motivated attack, the AP reports. "By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett's option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire," the studio said in a statement that gave no reasoning for the decision. Fox announced earlier Tuesday that the drama about a hip-hop record label and the fiery family behind it had been renewed for a sixth season. Smollett's character was removed from the final two episodes of season five.
A Smollett representative released a statement to several media outlets suggesting a hope that he may eventually return. "We've been told that Jussie will not be on Empire in the beginning of the season but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal's future open," the statement said. "Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and Empire leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support." (Chicago is suing Smollett over the attack.)