Jussie Smollett has been real silent amid his hate crime scandal at the time of the year, but he re-emerged on social media yesterday in honor of Pride Month.

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Many of his Empire co-stars have publicly supported him, including the show’s creator and executive producer, Lee Daniels. But in a new conversation with Vulture magazine, Daniels admits that it’s something he’s embarrassed about.

“I’m beyond embarrassed,” Daniels said. “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.” He also said that he would never suspect that Smollett would be capable of constructing a plan to stage a fake attack on himself. It would be a huge betrayal “if it turned out that he did it, was guilty, and all of it’s accurate.”


“Of course, there’s some doubt,” Daniels added. “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? 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.”

Daniels said he was too busy “putting out fires” to read the extensive investigative report published by the Chicago Tribune. The report pretty much suggested that the entire ordeal was a hoax. “We weren’t there,” Daniels said. “I can’t judge him. That’s only for the f*cking 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.”