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The show’s creator spoke about some of the backlash at the 2015 Produced By Conference in LA on Sunday. While noting the show’s poignant scenes between Terrence Howard’s character Lucious and Jamal, played by Jussie Smollett, the creator says he and Smollett have gotten death threats over the homosexual story lines.

Daniels once again explained most of Jamal’s aesthetic derives from his own experiences with his father.

“Jussie [Smollett] and I get death threats because of the statements we are trying to make” Daniels said about some responses to the show’s subplot “I have to relate to these people,” Daniels said at the conference. “That trash can scene? It happened.”

Daniels added that social issues were a must when he decided to push the show to the networks, including FOX, who picked up the series.

Smollett has also spoken out in the past about homophobia, stating it isn’t just an issue in the world of hip-hop.

“I grew up in the business. I know about homophobia in the music industry — not just in hip-hop,” he told Cosmopolitan in February. “Obviously, we’re dealing with homophobia in hip-hop, we’re dealing with homophobia in the black community. We’re dealing with homophobia in the black community and in hip-hop because we’re telling the story of a family that is a hip-hop family that is black. But that in no way is to let any other group of people off the hook, as if this is an isolated issue just simply in the black community. I have Jewish friends, I have Middle Eastern friends, I have Spanish and Italian and British and Scottish and German friends and Austrian friends, and guess what? They all deal with homophobia. It’s an earthling epidemic, it’s not isolated in the black community. So it’s definitely a story that Lee wanted to get out there, and it’s a story that I’m proud that we’re telling. But this is a universal story of people that are not respected and understood, and we all can relate to that, whether we’re gay, straight, bi, transgender.”

Over the weekend,Taraji P. Henson, who plays Cookie, announced the show will make its season two premiere on September 23. Henson also took home a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress in the drama.



Lee Daniels + Jussie Smollett Received Death Threats Over Empire’s Gay Storylines  was originally published on