A promotional video for the Fox series Empire posted online is notably missing one of its stars, the now-indicted felon Jussie Smollett.
In a video posted to the official Empire YouTube channel on March 13, a new episode is teased, but Smollett is nowhere to be found — sans a split second out-of-focus shot.
The star’s absence comes after he was arrested last month for staging an attack against himself, according to Chicago Police.
In January, Smollett claimed that he was attacked by two masked men who beat him, put a rope around his neck, dumped a chemical on him, and yelled “This is MAGA country!” He also claimed that the men called him racist, homophobic slurs.
Chicago police announced in February that they believe he planned the attack himself and lied about it. According to police, he led authorities to believe that his attackers were white when in fact his attackers were Nigerian-American men who he allegedly paid to attack him.
He surrendered to police and was arrested.
The latest episode of Empire suffered a serious ratings drop.
According to TheWrap:
As a matter of fact, last night’s “Empire” drew the second-smallest audience and second-worst demo rating ever for “Empire.” The only episode to draw fewer “live” eyeballs (4.229 million) and a lower demo rating (a 1.2) aired on Halloween 2018, which makes sense, as people were out celebrating and not in front of their TVs.
However, in a statement after his arrest, Fox maintained that he was “not being written out of the show.”