'Empire' creator reveals cast has felt 'pain, anger, sadness and frustration' over Jussie Smollett scandal

 Empire creator Lee Daniels is opening up about the Jussie Smollett "incident" for the first time since the return of the hit Fox show last Wednesday.

Daniels took to Instagram Wednesday afternoon to share a video in which he admits, "These past couple of weeks have been a freakin' roller coaster."

"Me and my cast have experienced pain, anger, sadness and frustration," Daniels continued. "And [we] really don't know how to deal with it, ya know?"

The filmmaker and prolific producer -- who co-created Empire with Danny Strong and remains an executive producer on the series -- never mentioned Smollett by name in his remarks, and coyly danced around the elephant in the room when he stressed that the episodes that have aired over the last two weeks were filmed "prior to the incident," referring to Smollett's allegedly faked attack on Jan. 29 in Chicago, his subsequent arrest and indictment.

Daniels went on to say that the drama surrounding the 36-year-old actor is "not what this show was made for."

"This show was made to bring America together," Daniels shared. "To talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets."

The Instagram post came just a few hours before Wednesday night's episode of Empire aired, during which time Daniels live-tweeted about the show multiple times, notably never mentioning either Smollett or any scenes involving his character, Jamal Lyon.

Daniels conspicuously avoided mentioning both last week as well during his Empire live-tweet session, despite the character being central to many of the premiere's biggest plotlines.

This week's episode actually opened on Smollett's character playing the piano and singing an original song called "Perfect Place" that, much like the song he sang during last week's episode, has some lyrics that seem particularly ironic in the light of the scandal that has enveloped the actor.

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'Empire' star Jussie Smollett during court appearances
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'Empire' star Jussie Smollett during court appearances
Empire actor Jussie Smollett arrives a news conference after a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in Chicago. Smollett attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a Tuesday morning statement that Smollett's record "has been wiped clean." Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs. (AP Photo/Amanda Seitz)
Empire actor Jussie Smollett appears with a fan as he walks out of the Leighton Criminal Court Building after a hearing Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in Chicago. Smollett attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement Tuesday that Smollett's record "has been wiped clean." Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs. (AP Photo/Amanda Seitz)
Actor Jussie Smollett exits courtroom 101 into the hallway at the Leighton Criminal Court Building following an emergency hearing over his disorderly conduct charges on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
US television actor Jussie Smollett attends Leighton Criminal Court with his attorney Tina Glandian (L) on March 14, 2019, in Chicago. - Smollett pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges he lied to police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic hate crime. The 36-year-old actor was charged with 16 felony counts last week for allegedly masterminding a false attack to gain publicity and win a bigger paycheck. (Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read E. JASON WAMBSGANS/AFP/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 14: Actor Jussie Smollett leaves Leighton Criminal Courthouse after his court appearance on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox television drama 'Empire.' (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
US television actor Jussie Smollett attends Leighton Criminal Court with his attorney Tina Glandian (L) on March 14, 2019, in Chicago. - Smollett pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges he lied to police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic hate crime. The 36-year-old actor was charged with 16 felony counts last week for allegedly masterminding a false attack to gain publicity and win a bigger paycheck. (Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read E. JASON WAMBSGANS/AFP/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 14: Actor Jussie Smollett (C) leaves Leighton Criminal Courthouse after his court appearance on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox television drama 'Empire.' (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 14: Actor Jussie Smollett arrives at Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox television drama 'Empire.' (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 14: Actor Jussie Smollett arrives at Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox television drama 'Empire.' (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 14: Actor Jussie Smollett arrives at Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox television drama 'Empire.' (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 14: Actor Jussie Smollett arrives at Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the Fox television drama 'Empire.' (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Actor Jussie Smollett(C) and team arrive for a court hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 12, 2019 in Chicago. - A Chicago grand jury on March 8, 2019 indicted American actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts after allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic hate crime. Police say Smollett -- who gained fame on Fox musical drama 'Empire' -- staged the attack in a bid to gain publicity and a bigger paycheck. (Photo by DEREK HENKLE / AFP) (Photo credit should read DEREK HENKLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Actor Jussie Smollett(C) and team arrive for a court hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on March 12, 2019 in Chicago. - A Chicago grand jury on March 8, 2019 indicted American actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts after allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic hate crime. Police say Smollett -- who gained fame on Fox musical drama 'Empire' -- staged the attack in a bid to gain publicity and a bigger paycheck. (Photo by Nova SAFO / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOVA SAFO/AFP/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 21: Empire actor Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail after posting bond on February 21, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett has been accused with arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 21: Empire actor Jussie Smollett (partially obscured) leaves Cook County jail after posting bond on February 21, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett has been accused with arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
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The questionable-in-retrospect lyrics include, "All the shine I left behind/Now I'm here, to my surprise," and "Was it worth the sacrifice?/'Cause being here is all a lie," as well as, "Oh, it's a shame, 'cause now I finally/Found a place that's all mine... Another place that's gone."

Additionally, one of Smollett's other scenes in this week's episode -- which felt notably lighter on scenes including the embattled star -- saw Jamal admonishing two singers who work for the Empire record label for getting into a fight on a red carpet and publicly embarrassing the company -- a moment that also felt uniquely ironic as well.

Additionally, the dramatic tease for next week's episode suggested fans might get more clues as to which member of the Lyon family is in the coffin -- which we've seen in flash forwards in earlier episodes and has been a driving mystery throughout the season. However, most fans are pretty confident that it's going to be Jamal who gets killed off, since Smollett has already been removed from the last few episodes of season five.

Smollett recently pleaded not guilty after being indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury in Chicago -- for allegedly making false statements to police regarding being the victim of a hate crime. The actor has staunchly denied the allegations.

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