Lee Daniels, the openly gay co-creator
of Fox's Empire, on Wednesday said he has felt pain, anger,
sadness and frustration over allegations Jussie Smollett faked his
own hate crime.
“These past couple of weeks have been
a freakin' roller coaster,” Daniels said in an Instagram video.
“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?”
“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,” he
Last week, Smollett pleaded not guilty
to 16 counts of disorderly conduct in connection with allegedly lying
to investigators in Chicago, where Empire is filmed.
The 36-year-old Smollett, who is black
and gay, has claimed that he was the victim of a racist and
homophobic attack that took place January 29 in Chicago.
Police, who initially investigated the
incident as a possible hate crime, have accused Smollett of
orchestrating his own attack because he was “dissatisfied with his
salary” on Empire. Police believe Smollett paid two
brothers $3,500 to stage the attack.
Smollett dropped from remainder of Empire