The episode, which was originally slated to air Feb. 6 (days after the allegedly staged attack) and then got rescheduled for March 6, would have pitted Smollett against Orange Is the New Black‘s Danielle Brooks in a rap battle. Executive producer and head writer Jensen Karp announced the scheduling change on Twitter Thursday.
“We had an episode of Drop the Mic this season with Jussie that you’ll now (correctly) never see,” Karp wrote. (YouTube, however, still has the full installment available to watch for a $1.99 fee.)
Smollett currently faces a felony criminal charge of disorderly conduct/filing a false police report in connection with his alleged attack in January. In a press conference Thursday, Chicago police alleged that Smollett hired two men to fake the attack because he was dissatisfied with his Empire salary. On Wednesday, the actor’s legal team released a statement saying, “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
In the wake of Smollett’s arrest on Thursday, his future on Empire remains unclear. In a statement, series producers 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said, “We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”