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'Empire' Co-Creator Lee Daniels Speaks Out on Jussie Smollett

Lee Daniels and Jussie Smollett

The director says the alleged hate crime has brought “pain and anger and sadness and frustration.”

Empire co-creator Lee Daniels took to Instagram Wednesday night to share a few words about the fallout from star Jussie Smollett's alleged homophobic and racist attack earlier this year. Just before a new episode aired, Daniels returned to the platform after a short hiatus to briefly explain what's transpired in the weeks since Smollett was arrested and charged for allegedly orchestrating his own attack in January.

"These past couple of weeks have been a freaking rollercoaster," Daniels said. "We have -- me and my cast have -- experienced pain and anger and sadness and frustration and really don't know how to deal with it, you know." Daniels, who was the first to share images of Smollett's swollen and lacerated face after the alleged attack, screenshot from his personal FaceTime call, did not mention the actor by name.

"Everything has happened, what you're seeing tonight, prior to the incident," Daniels said, referring to scenes currently airing featuring Smollett were filmed prior to the attack. In the wake of the investigation, Empirecut the actor from the final two episodes of its season, which presumably weren't filmed at the time. "This is not what the show was made for. The show was made to bring America together, to talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets."

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Since the initial outcry, Smollett has been indicted by a Chicago grand jury for 16 felony counts of filing a police report. The Chicago police maintain that Smollett orchestrated the attack. After turning himself in, the actor was released on a $100,000 bail and has appeared in court at hearings in and effort to "show confidence in his innocence."

RELATED | The Jussie Smollett Case: What Happened and When

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