Empire Co-Creator Lee Daniels “Beyond Embarrassed” for Rushing to Jussie Smollett’s Defense

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Empire co-creator and Executive Producer Lee Daniels is opening up about how he feels about the Jussie Smollett scandal. 

Daniels chatted with Vulture in a new interview that was published Tuesday, and it's clear his stance on the matter has changed. 

"I’m beyond embarrassed," the 59-year-old told the outlet.

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"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."

When news broke that Smollett sought police and medical assistance after an alleged attack, Daniels released a video on Instagram, saying that it was "just another f--king day in America."

The video has since been deleted. 

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While Daniels has admitted that he is embarrassed about the way things panned out, he added that there is "some doubt" in his mind that Smollett made up the alleged attack. 

"Of course, there’s some doubt," he said.

Related: Empire: Jussie Smollett Officially Fired

"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? " he continued.

"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."

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The interviewer continued to try and get more information from Daniels about how he was feeling, and he said the following:

"We weren’t there. I can’t judge him. That’s only for the f--king lady or man with that black robe and God."

Related: Jussie Smollett Arrested for Falsifying a Police Report

"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."

While Daniels is conflicted about his feelings towards the alleged incident, he has shut down reports that Smollett would be returning to Empire for its sixth and final season. 

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"Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire. -LD," he said via social media earlier this month. 

Many thought that Smollett would be staging a comeback because Fox picked up the actor's option for one more season, but a return is not on the cards. 

What do you think about this?

Hit the comments below. 

Remember you can watch Empire online right here via TV Fanatic. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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