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Lee Daniels Talks Jussie Smollett - 'I'm Standing By Him Regardless' + Jussie's Future On 'Empire'

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Lee Daniels says he has Jussie Smollett's back no matter what as the "staged attack" drama continues. Will Jussie be starring on the next season of "Empire?" Find out what he said inside...

Jussie Smollett got off scott free when all 16 counts of felony charges for lying to police were dropped. But, the drama still continues. He's being sued for $130,000 by the City of Chicago. And most recently, the two brothers implicated in the alleged "staged attack" are suing the actor's legal team for defamation.

So, the situation is still ongoing, however, Lee Daniels still has projects to work on and to promote. The "Empire" co-creator has been making his rounds in NYC to promote an Off-Broadway play, "Ain't No Mo," which he produced.

Lee stopped by Power 105's "The Breakfast Club" along with "Ain't No Mo" writer/star Jordan E. Cooper to chop it up about the play and, of course, the Jussie Smollett situation.

When news first broke that Jussie was allegedly attacked, Lee quickly took to Instagram in his defense. Since then, he has remained mum about it, until now.

Regardless of how Lee feels about the situation, he said he's riding for his "son" Jussie.

"There's only two judges. There's God and there's the man with the gavel - those are the two judges. I can not judge I can only have compassion. My thoughts are inconsequential."

He continued:

"I'm standing by him, because regardless of the outcome I can't discard someone. It's like discarding my son.

When asked if he believes Jussie's story about what went down, he didn't seem fully conveinced, however, he's remaining loyal to the "Empire" star.

"Do you believe him Lee?," Charlamagne asked.

"Umm...again, I think that my thoughts are inconsequential. Like, he's my son and I can only say I stand by him."

Jordan was asked if he believed Jussie and he said he didn't want to get involved in the conversation about that.

So, will Jussie be returning for another season of "Empire" (if it gets renewed)?

"We're in talks to figure out what we're going to do with the show. I've seen the SNL piece about me because it was real. It's real. It's traumatic. It has traumatized the show. It has traumatized the actors. It is very painful to talk about, even now. And I think that we're still living it and we're trying to figure it out."


Lee said he had to take a break because the situation was consuming everything. He said he has several projects in the works - like the Billie Holiday and Teddy Pendergrass films - and "Empire" is just one of his projects.

Check it:



Switching gears, the famed director opened up about squashing his $2 million beef with Hip Hop mogul Dame Dash. You'll recall, Dame filed a $25 million lawsuit against Lee due to a dispute over ownership rights for films such as Precious, The Butler, and his hit FOX series “Empire.”

The Hip Hop mogul gave the "STAR" creator a loan for $2 million to help produce Lee’s 2004 project, The Woodsman. Dame said in return for the $2 milli, he was suppose to get executive producer credits, 50% rights on the film, and a guarantee that the investment would be repaid with interest from Lee. Dame also made claims that he brought on artists such as Kanye West to perform at venues where the film’s ads would run to help with promo. However, none of what Dame was promised came into fruition, so he sued.

"Did you ever pay him [Dame] the $2 million?," Charlamagne asked.

"We squashed our beef," Lee responded.

"Will y'all be working with each other on some future stuff?," DJ Envy asked.

"Yeah, I think so. He's a good man and I think that I was out of pocket. Sometimes you really get caught up in the white voice that's in your head."

Lee said sadly it took public humiliation before he came to his senses.

"I believe in karma and I believe I deserved it. And I wish him the best because he believed in me when Hollywood was not f*cking with me."

Well, good for him for owning up to his mistakes and making it right with Dame. Lee also talked about Mo'Nique no longer being "blackballed" from the industry, pointing out her new feature in Donald Glover's Adidas campaign.

Get it all below at the 31:30 minute mark:


While making his rounds, photogs caught up with Lee Daniels in the Big Apple where he was asked if Jussie would be returning for the next season. Here's his response:

If "Empire" is given the greenlight for another season, will you be tuning in?

Photo: Getty

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