While he doesn’t mention the high-profile Jussie Smollett case by name, Lee Daniels seemingly mentions the effects of “the incident” on the Empire cast and crew in a new video. On Instagram, the show runner gives followers a brief rundown of how the January event has impacted the team.
“These past couple of weeks have been a freakin’ roller coaster,” the Philly-bred entertainment mogul says while brushing his teeth. “Me and my cast have experienced pain, anger and sadness, frustration, and really don’t know how to deal with it.”
He continues by stating that “the incident” occurred after the recent Empire episodes were filmed, so fans of the show are seeing footage shot during simpler times for the Lyons family. The show is in its fifth season, and it’s unclear as of now if it will return for a sixth.
“The show was made to bring America together, to talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets,” Daniels explains of Empire and his other Fox series, STAR.
Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts during his court appearance on Mar. 14. He is due back in court on Apr. 17, and he fervently maintains his innocence in what the Chicago Police Department believe was a stage hate crime attack orchestrated by the actor.