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Lee Daniels talks the "Empire" cast’s feelings about Jussie Smollett after scandal

The acclaimed director says everyone is "slowly healing."

YouTube / Extra

While Jussie Smollett's legal battle stemming from an allegedly fake hate crime has just begun, the scandal surrounding the "Empire" actor continues to impact those closest to him.

During a new interview with Extra, series co-creator and director Lee Daniels opened up about how the actors and crew are feeling in the aftermath of the situation.

"The cast is upset," he began. "It is a sad time and we are slowly healing."

While Daniels did not touch on whether or not the cast believes Smollett staged his own alleged hate crime or not, he did explain how several lessons have emerged stemming from the highly publicized debacle.

"What I am learning right now is that I can't judge," the acclaimed director explained. "That that judgment is for that man wearing that black coat with a 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 I can only give him compassion."

Daniels previously shared how he created the show "Empire" in hopes of uniting others and touching on important societal and political issues, making the undeniably divisive allegations against Smollett that much more difficult to navigate.

"We have — me and my cast — have experienced pain, and anger, and sadness, and frustration, and really don't know how to deal with it," the 59-year-old director and producer shared last month. "Because everything has happened, what you are seeing tonight, prior to the incident. And this is not what the show was made for. The show was made to bring America together. To talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets."

His initial comments were made after Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury after investigators claimed he allegedly staged his own hate crime and falsified a police report on Jan. 29. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and has adamantly vocalized his innocence in the matter.

Earlier this month, prosecutors in Chicago made the shocking decision to drop all of the outstanding charges after agreeing to forfeit his $10,000 bond payment and perform community service.

After the charges were dropped, the city of Chicago decided to move forward with a new lawsuit, suing the actor for $130,000 for the time spent investigating the matter.

Take a look at Lee Daniels' latest comments weighing in on the Jussie Smollett scandal in the clip below.

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