‘I’m beyond embarrassed,’ Lee Daniels Speaks Out About Jussie Smollet

According to New York magazine, Empire creator and director Daniels discussed actor Jussie Smollett’s downfall amid allegations he perpetuated a hate crime hoax in Chicago in January.

Happier Days: December 2, 2016: Lee Daniels & Jussie Smollett at star ceremony for director Lee Daniels on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. – Shutterstock

Daniels originally issued a statement in support of Smollett when the news first broke that the actor was the victim of an apparent homophobic and racist assault, but then Chicago police said he faked the attack with the help of two associates in order to get attention and an Empire pay raise (Smollett has maintained that he is innocent of the allegations and the charges were droppedin March).

“I’m beyond embarrassed,” Daniels said. “I think that when it happened, I had a flash of me running from bullies. I had a flash of my whole life, of my childhood, my youth, getting beaten.”

Lee Daniels

The magazine asked if there was “any doubt in his mind” that Smollett didn’t make up the attack.

“Of course, there’s some doubt,” he said. “I’m telling you that because I love him so much. That’s the torture that I’m in right now, because it’s literally if it were to happen to your son and your child, how would you feel? You would feel, Please, God, please let there be that glimmer of hope that there is some truth in this story. That’s why it’s been so painful. It was a flood of pain.”

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