Jussie Smollett & ‘Empire’ Creator Lee Daniels Are Reportedly No Longer On Speaking Terms

Actor Jussie Smollett and producer Lee Daniels attend the 47th NAACP Image Awards
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Jussie Smollett and Empire creator Lee Daniels are allegedly no longer on speaking terms, according to Page Six. Part of the reason is due to Smollett’s “alleged hate-crime hoax,” but the outlet reports that the two had been at odds before Smollett’s legal troubles.

An insider told Page Six that their “relationship is nonexistent, and it was tense even before Jussie’s attack incident.”

One reason Smollett and Daniels didn’t get along is that Daniels allegedly wanted R. Kelly to assist in boosting Smollett’s career status. Smollett was firmly against being involved with Kelly due to his unsavory reputation in the music industry. At one point, Daniels supposedly wanted Kelly to help Smollett work on his album.

However, a Fox rep says that Daniels never approached Kelly, and that the disgraced musician had nothing to do with Empire.

Smollett would also reportedly go over Daniels’ head — to the network executives — whenever the showrunner did something he didn’t like, rather than confront Daniels face-to-face.

“It was things like that that did not sit well with Lee. He [was frustrated by] Jussie because he was constantly going over his head to Fox about their creative differences,” said the insider.

Daniels denies the claims about his relationship with Smollett and also says he never had any kind of relationship with Kelly, reports Page Six. There is no comment from Smollett or his team on these allegations regarding the relationship between the two men.

Last month, The Inquisitr reported that the Illinois Supreme Court rejected Smollet’s attempt to get his charges thrown out. The first time he was charged with allegedly staging a hate crime, his charges were dismissed. But new charges have since been filed, after a special prosecutor took a second look at his case. As of right now, Smollett will have to stand trial.

Smollett and his team have remained adamant that he did not stage anything. The Page Six article says that he was accused of hiring brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to stage an assault on him.

“There was no reason for him to self-sabotage his career. He didn’t stage anything at all,” a source told the outlet.

While the article claims Daniels and Smollett have a fractured relationship, his relationships with other cast members on the series are also largely unclear.

According to Deadline, Empire is currently airing its sixth and final season. The Fox drama will come to a premature end with its upcoming 18th episode — set to air on April 21 — due to the coronavirus shutdowns.