“Extra” was with Lee Daniels today at the “Extra” studio at Levi’s Times Square. The creator of “Empire” got candid about the situation surrounding Jussie Smollett.
Jussie was accused of paying brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to stage an attack on himself in Chicago back in January, then lying to police about it. All 16 felony charges were dropped, and Jussie has always maintained his innocence. Now, the city of Chicago has filed a civil suit against Smollett in hopes of recouping the costs of the investigation. In addition, the two brothers have now filed a defamation lawsuit against Jussie’s attorneys.
“The cast is upset, it is a sad time and we are slowly healing,” he said, adding, “What I am learning right now is I can’t judge, that that judgement is for that man wearing that black coat with gavel and God. 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.”
Lee was in New York producing the play “Ain’t No Mo’,” while “Empire” is on hiatus, “I’m doing a play so it’s good to be in New York, because I come from theaters, it’s full circle.”
He gave us the premise of the Off-Broadway production, explaining, “It’s about the last African Americans that leave to go to Africa, a drag queen is your flight attendant, Obama is your pilot and you laugh and you cry and I have never seen anything like it in my life.”
Daniels discovered the playwright, Jordan E. Cooper, who is just 23.
“It took a 23-year-old boy to tell me this is why you are a black man, more importantly a gay black man… He cracked my heart, I never witnessed anything like it and he reminded me of me when I was 23.”
“Ain’t No Mo’” is playing at the Public Theater in New York until May 5. Lee is hoping to bring it to Broadway and make a film that he would direct in the future.