(AllHipHop News) The Fox drama Empire returned from its mid-season hiatus last week. It was the first episode to air after cast member Jussie Smollett was arrested for filing a false police report for allegedly orchestrating a fake hate crime.
Smollett’s role on the series has reportedly been scaled back, but the shows that were filmed before the early-morning “attack” still feature the actor. On Wednesday, Empire co-creator Lee Daniels took to Instagram to give an update on the production.
“Oh my God, these past couple of weeks have been a freaking roller coaster,” said Daniels. “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?”
The producer/director only referred to the Smollett case as “the incident.” Lee said, “This is not what this show was made for. The show was made to bring America together, to talk about the atrocities that are happening right now on the streets.”
Empire star Terrence Howard publicly supported Smollett with his own Instagram post in February. Recently, Emmy nominated actress Taraji P. Henson only answered “strong” when asked how the cast was dealing with the scandal.
Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct. The 36-year-old Chicago resident maintains he was assaulted by two individuals that supposedly put a noose around his neck and poured a then-unknown substance on his clothes.