Series co-creator says Jussie Smollett will not return to 'Empire'

Series co-creator says Jussie Smollett will not return to 'Empire'
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Actor Jussie Smollett will not return for the sixth season of TV's "Empire" after a high-profile case this year involving Smollett and an alleged hate crime attack, the show's co-creator Lee Daniels said Tuesday. 

Daniels made the statement in a tweet disputing a Variety article that said the show's writers were preparing for Smollett's character to make a return. 

"This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire," Daniels said.

Smollett, 36, told Chicago police in January that two men beat him, placed a rope around his neck, and yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him while shouting, "This is MAGA country!"

Charges against Smollett were dropped in March, taking many by surprise after police said Smollett had hired his alleged attackers. He was indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury in Cook County, Ill.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett paid two brothers $3,500 to fabricate the attack because the actor was dissatisfied with his salary.