Lee Daniels Says ‘I’m Beyond Embarrassed’ About Jussie Smollett Attack Possibly Being Fake: ‘It Was Affecting My Spirit’
It’s been months since former Empire actor Jussie Smollett was first accused of staging a homophobic and racist attack against himself in Chicago. While he’s been consistent in saying he would never do that, the co-creator of the series Lee Daniels has opened up about being conflicted on what to believe.
During a recent interview, Daniels was asked about his decision to first back Smollett and stand by him. For the first time, he publicly admitted,
“I’m beyond embarrassed.”
He added that the entire incident made him think about what he experienced as a child.
“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.”
He then said that he would feel betrayed if Smollett really did fake it as he expressed that he does have doubt about Smollett’s story.
“If it turned out that he did it, was guilty, and all of it’s accurate…Of course, there’s some doubt. 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.”
He continued and said that he didn’t read the Chicago Tribune’s articles about the updates because he was
“too busy putting out fires.”
“We weren’t there. I can’t judge him. That’s only for the lady or man with that black robe and God. I had to detach myself and stop calling him because it was taking away the time I have for my kids, the time I have for my partner. It was affecting my spirit and other shows, everything.”
As for the new level of fame Smollett has since all of this went down, Daniels said,
“Think about it. If he didn’t do it, he’d be Martin Luther King right now. He’d be some sort of god.”
Smollett faced tons of scrutiny after he claimed that two white men attacked him in Chicago, where Empire is taped. He told police they threw bleach on him, hung a noose around his neck, and called him racial and homophobic slurs. But the tables turned against Smollett after it turned out the two men were Nigerian brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, who later accused Smollett of paying them to attack him.
After an investigation, Smollett was later charged with 16 felony counts that were later all dropped. But now, the prosecutor Kim Foxx is facing an investigation of her own as authorities look into how she handled the case.
The city of Chicago is also suing Smollett for the cost of the investigation.
Meanwhile, Smollett made his return to social media Tuesday for the first time since the day of the alleged January attack. Comments have been disabled.
What do you think about Lee’s new comments on Jussie?