'Empire' Creator Lee Daniels Speaks Out on 'Pain and Anger' Over Jussie Smollett Scandal
Lee Daniels is addressing the current Jussie Smollett scandal and how the drama is affecting his show, Empire.
The writer and creator of the hit Fox drama took to Instagram on Wednesday, March 20, to open up about how the cast and crew are handling the incident.
“These past couple of weeks have been a freaking roller coaster,” he says in the clip.
“Me and my cast have experienced pain and anger and sadness and frustration, and really don’t know how to deal with it, you know.”
Daniels decided to share the video after this week’s episode of Empire aired, which still featured Smollett as Jamal Lyon.
Though he never references Smollett by name, it’s clear Daniels is upset with the actor and how his actions have affected the show.
“This is not what the show was made for. The show was made to bring America together. To talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets,” Daniels explains.
Smollett has been written out of the final two episodes of Season 5, but it’s unclear what will happen to his character next season.
The show released a statement following his arrest and explained they’re waiting for more facts before making any final decisions. “Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply,” the statement read.
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“While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out. We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season.”
Smollett was indicted on 16 felony accounts and has plead not guilty.