Empire creator admits Jussie Smollett scandal played "a major part" in show being axed

Stephanie Chase
Photo credit: FOX via Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Empire creator Lee Daniels has suggested that the scandal surrounding actor Jussie Smollett played "a major part" in the show being axed.

In January, Smollett claimed he was the victim of a racial and homophobic attack. He was later accused of staging the incident, which he denied, and all charges against him were dropped in March.

The actor has since been sued by the city of Chicago in order to cover the investigation costs.

Photo credit: Alexander Tamargo - Getty Images

Speaking to Vulture, Daniels was asked if he thought the scandal played a role in the show's axing.

"Certainly, that played a major part," he said. "But come on, man. I think that it's been a good run. Empire in its current iteration may be over, but Empire is far from over."

He also cryptically teased what the future could hold for Empire. "We're trying something out, and if it works, then Empire is over and we have a great spinoff," he said.

Photo credit: FOX via Getty Images

"And if it doesn't, then Empire may not very well be over. But the intent is to have our last season with a great spinoff. I don't know if that makes any sense at all.

"We're in the writers' room right now, discussing [Empire's final] fantastic, bombastic season, which is going to shake you by your roots."

The sixth and final season of Empire is due to air later this year, with showrunner Brett Mahoney teasing a "reset" for the Lyon family.

Empire airs on Fox in the US.

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