Empire has millions of fans, but there are a few that show creator Lee Daniels can live without.
The filmmaker recently revealed that he and Jussie Smollett, who plays Terrence Howard's gay son Jamal Lyon, have received hate mail and even death threats from some who take issue with the show's gay plot lines.
LIFE IN FILM: THE CAST OF EMPIRE
“Homophobia is real. It exists… Jussie and I both get death threats. But we will continue to do our thing,” Daniels said. He added that, while a tiny minority insist on spewing hate towards the show, which has seen the kind of success few network primetime shows experience these days, he is proud of the film's diverse cast and willingness to take on real issues.
“I have to relate to these people honestly,” he said. “That trash can scene? It happened,” Daniels added, referring to a flashback scene in which a young Jamal is put into a trash can by his father — something which Daniels has said actually happened to him when his father discovered he was gay.
Empire returns to continue it pushing envelopes on September 23. Watch Jussie talk about his experiences with homophobia in our exclusive interview below:
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(Photos from left: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for DIFF, John Sciulli/Getty Images for Calvin Klein)