Malik Yoba outs his 'Empire' co-star Jussie Smollet: 'He is gay'

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Jussie Smollett is transforming network primetime TV with his breakout role as a gay character, Jamal Lyon, on Empire.

Since skyrocketing to notoriety with the launch of Empire earlier this year, Smollett has remained tight-lipped about his sexual orientation.

During a recent appearance on Sway in the Morning, Smollett was asked flat out if he was gay, to which he replied, “I’m not willing to confirm or deny anything. I live my life. If someone’s looking for a box to put me in, then that’s not going to happen. But I live my life. If you really want to know about me, just watch because I don’t hide anything. I just choose not to talk about my personal life.”

Smollett is not talking about his personal life, but it seems one of his Empire co-stars didn’t get that memo.

In a new interview with, Malik Yoba, who stars on Empire as the Chairman of the Board, Vernon Turner, set the record straight on Smollett’s sexuality.

“I know Jussie, he is gay, and he’s very committed to issues around the LGBT community,” Yobe revealed. “He and I have a very close relationship.”

The former New York Undercover actor also talked about how Empire director Lee Daniels is destroying some of the tired stereotypes within the black community.

“I think that our show represents a huge opportunity to stay in the culture beyond entertainment value, and there’s an intrinsic nature of you have the gay factor, right? So, obviously, Lee is gay. That was an important storyline for him,” Yoba said. “I think it’s important for people to see themselves. Even within the Black community.”

Follow’s Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon on Twitter @WitherspoonC.