(LOS ANGELES) — Empire creator Lee Daniels says he’s standing behind Jussie Smollett, who’s still under immense scrutiny following the controversy over what police called a hate crime hoax.
In an interview with Extra, Daniels says that Jussie’s Empire family is working to process the scandal, which rocked not just the nation, but the show’s set.
“The cast is upset, it is a sad time, and we are slowly healing,” Daniels explains.
The director, who is currently producing an Off-Broadway play while the Fox series is on hiatus, says during this difficult time for Smollett, he only wants to be supportive.
“What I am learning right now is I can’t judge… that judgement is for that man wearing that black coat with gavel, and God,” Daniels says.
He continues, “I can only support him because he is like my son; he is my son. So I am with him; I can only support him and give him compassion.”
As previously reported, Chicago police allege that Smollett paid brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to help him stage an attack on himself. The actor stands by his story that he had nothing to do with the incident, but he was subsequently charged with filing a false police report.
The charges were later dropped in exchange for the actor forfeiting his $10,000 bond. He was supposed to have reimbursed the city of Chicago $130,000, but he has not; the city is now suing him.
21st Century Fox — which produces Empire — is now a part of Disney, ABC’s parent company.
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