TNT has dropped an upcoming episode of “Drop the Mic” featuring Jussie Smollett following the “Empire” star’s surrender to Chicago PD early Thursday morning on charges of filing a false police report.
“We are pulling the episode in the interest of not being exploitative of an incredibly sensitive situation,” a TNT spokesperson said in a statement to TheWrap on Thursday. “We are holding on airing his episode for now and we are replacing it with the Raven Symone vs Ron Funches and Joey McIntyre vs Joey Fatone episode.”
On the now-shelved “Drop the Mic,” Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee on “Orange Is The New Black,” faced off against Smollett in a battle and “American Idol” star Clay Aiken took on “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Sharknado” star Ian Ziering.
“Drop the Mic” executive producer and head writer Jensen Karp added in a tweet: “We had an episode of Drop The Mic this season with Jussie that you’ll now (correctly) never see, but sadly it will shelve @clayaiken, WHO WAS A VERY GOOD RAPPER (at least for now).”
Representatives for Smollett did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
This morning, Chicago PD held a press conference to give an update on Smollett’s case following his arrest. Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the “Empire” star staged the Jan. 29 attack — which he initially reported as a “hate crime” — because he was “dissatisfied with his salary,” and sent the letter threatening himself to Fox, the “Empire” studio.
Minutes later, during the media conference’s Q&A portion, the police superintendent responded “yes” to a reporter who asked if that information came from brothers Olabinjo (“Ola”) and Abimbola (“Abel”) Osundairo, who were initially persons of interest and turned out to have both worked on “Empire.”
Commander of Area Central Detectives Edward Wodnicki then gave a breakdown of the timeline and evidence that led to Smollet’s arrest, including a $3,500 check police say Smollett used to pay the brothers to fake the assault.
Chicago PD released Smollett’s mug shot in conjunction with the press conference. Smollett’s bond hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. CT on Thursday.
Fox said in a statement after the press conference: “We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”
See Karp’s tweet below.
We had an episode of Drop The Mic this season with Jussie that you'll now (correctly) never see, but sadly it will shelve @clayaiken, WHO WAS A VERY GOOD RAPPER (at least for now)
— Jensen Karp (@JensenKarp) February 21, 2019