Lee Daniels ‘beyond embarrassed’ by Jussie Smollett scandal: ‘It was a flood of pain’

Lee Daniels says he is “beyond embarrassed” by the Jussie Smollett scandal that’s engulfed the final two seasons of “Empire” in a new interview published on Tuesday.

“I’m beyond embarrassed,” Daniels told Vulture of his initial decision to support Smollett’s story. “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.”

Daniels went on to say that he retains “some doubt” regarding Chicago authorities’ theory that Smollett staged the racist and homophobic hate crime committed against him earlier this year. Charges against the actor were dropped following the highly publicized investigation, and Daniels said he hangs on to a “glimmer of hope” because he loves Smollett like a son.

“We weren’t there. I can’t judge him,” Daniels said. “That’s only for the fucking 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.”

Smollett was written out of the final few episodes of “Empire” Season 5 after Chicago prosecutors charged him with multiple counts of filing a false police report, though those charges were later dropped as part of a deal requiring him to perform community service and forfeit $10,000 bond.

TheWrap previously reported that Smollett had once been in preliminary talks to return to the show for the upcoming sixth and final season, but Daniels later denied it on Twitter, emphatically stating that Smollett would not return.

Elsewhere in the wide-ranging interview, Daniels also raised an eyebrow at the network’s decision to cancel his other show “Star,” as well as many of its other shows anchored by actors of color.

“Clearly, there’s obvious stuff going on,” he said after being prompted to respond to observers commenting on the trend. “I think it’s very obvious. I was disturbed by it. But I don’t think ‘Empire’ had anything to do with the whitewashing. ‘Empire’ sort of lives in its own space at Fox, but I do question the agenda. Any fool could sure see where that’s going.”

Read original story Lee Daniels ‘Beyond Embarrassed’ by Jussie Smollett Scandal: ‘It Was a Flood of Pain’ At TheWrap.

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Lee Daniels and Jussie Smollett together
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Lee Daniels and Jussie Smollett together
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Jussie Smollett and Lee Daniels attend the Build Series to discuss the show 'Empire' at Build Studio on September 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Jussie Smollett and Lee Daniels attend the Build Series to discuss the show 'Empire' at Build Studio on September 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Jussie Smollett and Lee Daniels attend the Build Series to discuss the show 'Empire' at Build Studio on September 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Jussie Smollett and Lee Daniels attend the Build Series to discuss the show 'Empire' at Build Studio on September 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Jussie Smollett and Lee Daniels attend the Build Series to discuss the show 'Empire' at Build Studio on September 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Jussie Smollett and Lee Daniels attend the Build Series to discuss the show 'Empire' at Build Studio on September 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: (L-R) Actor Jussie Smollett and director Lee Daniels discuss their show "Empire" at Build Studio on September 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Jussie Smollett (L) and Lee Daniels attend Build series to discuss their show "Empire" at Build Studio on September 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Chance Yeh/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Jussie Smollett (L) and Lee Daniels attend Build series to discuss their show "Empire" at Build Studio on September 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Chance Yeh/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Jussie Smollett (L) and Lee Daniels attend Build series to discuss their show "Empire" at Build Studio on September 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Chance Yeh/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 02: Lee Daniels and Jussie Smollett attend the ceremony honoring Lee Daniels with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 2, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: Jussie Smollett and Lee Daniels attend the after party for"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" premiere at TAO Downtown on April 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Jussie Smollet, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard, and Lee Daniels attend the 2017 FOX Upfront at Wollman Rink, Central Park on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 02: Lee Daniels and Jussie Smollett attend the ceremony honoring Lee Daniels with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 2, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 02: Lee Daniels and Jussie Smollett attend the ceremony honoring Lee Daniels with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 2, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/WireImage)
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