1. ITV Report

Jussie Smollett's character dropped from final two episodes of Empire after allegations of 'hoax attack'

The 36-year-old American actor was arrested on Thursday. Credit: PA

Jussie Smollett's character, Jamal Lyon, will not appear in the final two episodes of Empire, after the actor was accused of staging an attack on himself, producers have confirmed.

The 36-year-old American actor, who is black and openly gay, alleged that he had been the victim of a racially motivated and homophobic assault in Chicago last month.

Following a police investigation, Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.

He turned himself in and was arrested on Thursday.

Smollett's character has now been cut from the final two episode of Empire, the TV show which reportedly left him "dissatisfied with his salary", according to Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who spoke about the arrest.

The actor's future has not been confirmed beyond the removal of his character from the two episodes.

Jussie Smollett leaving Cook County jail in Chicago. Credit: PA

On Friday, the Fox show's executive producers made a joint statement in which they said: "The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us.

"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.

"We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of Jamal from the final two episodes of the season."

Following his arrest, Smollett has been released on bail.

The actor had to pay £7,670 to be released, as well as surrender his passport.

During the bail hearing, Smollett - who denies the allegations - spoke only to state his name, and later left the jail without speaking to the crowd of reporters and onlookers who had gathered.

A courtroom sketch of Jussie Smollet appearing before a Cook County judge. Credit: AP

If found guilty, Smollett faces a prison sentence of between one to three years but could also receive probation.

Smollett said he had been attacked by two masked men in downtown Chicago on January 29, telling police his attackers shouted racist and homophobic abuse and tied a noose around his neck.

The actor, who is black and came out as gay in 2015, made a tearful appearance on Good Morning America this month and said he had been "forever changed" by the alleged attack.

However, Chicago police allege that the attack was a hoax orchestrated by the actor as he was "dissatisfied with his salary" on Fox network drama Empire.

They claim he hired two brothers to help stage a "phony attack" on him last month, but that his plan was thwarted because the surveillance camera was not faced in the right direction to capture the beating.

Police say the brothers are co-operating with the investigation.

Following the alleged attack, Smollett had been widely supported by celebrities and public figures, including Ariana Grande, Michael B Jordan, Olivia Munn and Ellen DeGeneres, as well as US president Donald Trump.

Mr Trump hit back following the actor's arrest, tweeting to Smollett: "What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA."