10:52am PT by Rick Porter
TNT Shelves Jussie Smollett 'Drop the Mic' Episode Following Arrest
In the wake of Jussie Smollett's arrest, TNT has pulled an episode of Drop the Mic that was going to feature the actor.
The Empire star was arrested Wednesday and charged with falsifying a police report after Smollett said he was attacked on Jan. 29. Smollett's account came into doubt in the weeks after the alleged incident, and he was named as a suspect in the investigation earlier this week.
In a press conference Thursday, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson called the attack a "hoax" put together because Smollett was "dissatisfied with his salary" on the Fox drama.
In rap-battle contest Drop the Mic, Smollett was to have faced off against Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks in an episode that had been scheduled for March 6. Former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken and Sharknado and Beverly Hills, 90210 star Ian Ziering battled in another segment of the episode.
"We had an episode of Drop the Mic this season with Jussie that you'll now (correctly) never see, but sadly it will shelve Clay Aiken, who was a very good rapper (at least for now)," Drop the Mic executive producer Jensen Karp tweeted Thursday.
"We are pulling the episode in the interest of not being exploitative of an incredibly sensitive situation," a TNT spokesperson said. "We are holding on airing this episode for now, and we are replacing it with the Raven Symone vs. Ron Funches and Joey McIntyre vs. Joey Fatone episode."
The episode has been available on YouTube (for a $1.99 fee) since Feb. 6, along with the rest of season two's episodes. As of publication time, the video was still available, but a TNT rep told The Hollywood Reporter the network is working to have the episode removed.