On Wednesday (March 20), the series co-creator took to Instagram to address fans directly about his feelings on the alleged hoax that rocked the nation. "Hi guys, I'm back," he said, jubilantly. "Oh my God, these past couple of weeks have been a freaking roller coaster."
Daniels went on to explain, "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. You know?" The 59-year-old director and producer added, "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."
Daniels ended his video address encouraging fans to continue to watch both "Empire" and his other Fox series, "Star." Smollett's character, Jamal Lyon, was written out of the final two episodes of this season of "Empire" following his arrest in February.
Earlier this month, Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury after he allegedly staged his own hate crime and falsified a police report on Jan. 29. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and his attorneys plan to mount "an aggressive defense."
On Sunday (March 17), Taraji P. Henson, who plays Cookie on "Empire," also broke her silence on how the cast was holding up in the wake of Smollett's legal troubles. "It's a great atmosphere," she told Entertainment Tonight. "You have to stay strong, stay positive, full of hope." Though statements seem to contradict Daniels, it does appear the cast and crew are maintaining a united front throughout the ordeal.
Meanwhile, it has also been reported that Smollett's case has put the show in jeopardy of being canceled on Fox. The network has yet to renew "Empire" for a sixth season. An announcement is expected to arrive sometime next week. Watch Daniels' video in full ahead.