The details of the alleged event got increasingly murky, and it was eventually believed to be a hoax. Smollett was eventually charged with filing a false police report, and the city of Chicago brought a lawsuit against him, seeking all of the money the investigation into his alleged attack cost.
Smollett was consequently written off the show. His character Jamal’s exit was handled offscreen, with the character moving to London. In the season premiere, Jamal’s mother Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) discusses his exit with his friend Becky Williams (Gabourey Sidibe) while in slumber party attire.
“No wonder that boy ran off to London,” Cookie jokes.
“I thought he was running away from Lyon drama,” Becky says, pausing before she gets serious. “I really miss him.”
“Please don’t get me started; I miss him so much,” Cookie replies, before quickly diverting the conversation. “Anyway, why do we need to have this slumber party?”
As Empire‘s final season comes to a close, there are rumors that Smollett will return to play Jamal in the finale. Empire‘s showrunner Brett Mahoney, thinks it would be strange to not involve Smollett’s character considering the core concept of family on the show.
“It would be weird in my mind to end this family show and this family drama of which he was such a significant part of without seeing him. It’s fair say it’s being discussed, but there’s no place as of yet to bring him back. There’s been no decision made.”
“I just made a couple notes. First of all I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me , who have supported me and who have showed me so much love. No one will ever know how much that has meant to me and I will be forever grateful. I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of.
This has been an incredibly difficult time. Honestly one of the worst of my entire life. But I am a man of faith and I am a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn’t.
Now I’d like nothing more than to get back to work and move on with my life. But make no mistakes, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere. So again thank you for all the support. Thank you for faith and thank you to God. Bless you. Thank you very much.”