Empire creator Lee Daniels is beside himself with angst and sadness over the Jussie Smollett‘s alleged fake hate crime scandal and posted a video Wednesday appearing distressed while addressing it, Variety reports.
“These past couple of weeks have been a freakin’ rollercoaster,” Daniels said in the video. “Me and my cast have experienced pain, anger, sadness and frustration, and really don’t know how to deal with it.”
Even though Daniels revealed that things are topsy-turvy over at Empire, co-star Taraji P. Henson seems to contradict his statement saying that the cast is remaining resilient amid the tumult.
There’s no telling who’s keeping it 100, but one thing is for sure, numbers don’t lie and the latest ‘Empire’ ratings took a dip amid Jussie Smollett’s alleged hate crime scandal.
“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 on the streets,” Daniels concludes in the video.
Even as the Empire brass supports Smollett as he prepares a defense against charges that he falsified details of an alleged racist and homophobic attack against him, the showrunners still decided to remove him from the final Season 5 episodes of the Fox series.
“Jussie has been an important member of our ‘Empire’ family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. 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,” Daniels said in joint statement.
Black Leaders Call for Smollett’s NAACP nom rescinded
Project 21, a black leadership network, released a statement asking the NAACP to withdraw Smollett’s nomination for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series,” as the awards show date of March 30 nears.
Smollett had been indicted on 16 counts of felonious disorderly conduct related to the attack.
In a statement, Project 21 said: “Everyone has a reason to be disappointed with Jussie Smollett right now, and these accumulated reasons justify the NAACP taking swift and appropriate action to remove him from consideration for its Image Award,” Project 21 co-chairman Council Nedd II said in a statement.