Empire creator Lee Daniels is refusing to tone down the show’s gay storylines, despite revealing both he and actor Jussie Smollett have received death threats over the subject matter.
The openly-gay filmmaker draws from his personal experiences for some of the plotlines in the series, including a heartbreaking scene in season one, in which Terrance Howard‘s character throws his young son Jamal into a garbage can after he is caught dressing up in his mother’s clothes.
Daniels admits the scenes have caused some backlash among viewers, but the Precious director wants the show to enact change, especially in the black community.
He says, “I have to relate to these people honestly. That trash can scene? It happened.”
He adds, “This is real. Homophobia is real in the African-American community. Jussie (who plays the adult Jamal) and I both get death threats, (but) we will continue to do our thing until homophobia is done.”