Lee Daniels is "beyond embarrassed" by his public support for Jussie Smollett and admitted he stopped calling the actor after he was accused of faking an attack on himself.
The 'Empire' creator was one of the biggest supporters of the 36-year-old actor when news broke he'd been the victim of a homophobic and racist attack in Chicago in January but after his friend was accused of faking the attack for publicity in order to get a pay rise on the musical drama, the showrunner admitted he regrets his staunch and vocal backing of the star.
He said: "I'm beyond embarrassed. I think that when it happened, I had a flash of me running from bullies. I had a flash of my whole life, of my childhood, my youth, getting beaten."
And though Lee "loves" Jussie "so much", he admitted he does have some doubts that his account of the attack was true.
He told Vulture: "Of course, there's some doubt. I'm telling you that because I love him so much. That's the torture that I'm in right now, because it's literally if it were to happen to your son and your child, how would you feel? You would feel, Please, God, please let there be that glimmer of hope that there is some truth in this story. That's why it's been so painful. It was a flood of pain."