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Jussie Smollett will not be returning to U.S. television series “Empire,” the show’s creator says, marking the first public confirmation that the actor has been dropped after a furor over claims that he was the victim of a hate crime.

Responding to a Variety report that writers were discussing scenarios in which Smollett’s character would return toward the end of the sixth and final season, “Empire” creator Lee Daniels wrote on Twitter on Tuesday; “Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire.”

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