The showrunner tweeted in response to a report stating that the Fox drama was preparing for the beleaguered actor’s return, saying, “This is not factual.”

Empire co-creator Lee Daniels, who has never explicitly said that Jussie Smollett won’t return to the Fox series, tweeted Tuesday that the actor won’t reprise his role. 

His tweet, posted in response to a report which stated that the Empire writers were preparing for his return on the show’s sixth and final season, read, “This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire.”

Back in March, Daniels posted an emotional video on social media in which he spoke about the “pain and anger” he has felt since Smollett was accused of a hate crime in January. Following the alleged hate crime hoax and subsequent arrest in Chicago, the actor did not appear on the show’s final two episodes of the fifth season.

Despite all 16 felony charges being dropped against Smollett and his record being wiped clean, his fate on the show has been unclear. Since last week’s release of court records from Chicago’s Cook County office, the case has raised further questions concerning how lawmakers handled the proceeding. 

Empire was renewed for its final season in April by Fox, notiing that while Smollett remains under contract, his character Jamal Lyon would not be appearing. 

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