During an interview on Black Hollywood Live‘s “Inside The Black Actor’s Studio” podcast, which dropped on Monday, Diggs expressed his support for the 37-year-old Smollett following the major scandal earlier this year that saw him indicted on 16 felony charges.
“I have no idea what people are going through. And to be honest, it’s kinda none of my business,” said Diggs, who guest-starred on Empire" between 2016 to 2017.
"He is a good friend of mine. I love him. He’s, he’s only done right by me. So you know people go through things," said Diggs, known for his roles in Broadway musicals and TV series like "Private Practice."
"It doesn’t change who he was and who he is to me," he added. "It doesn’t change, you know, the attention that we still need to pay to, you know, homophobic. Like, the people, people trip out, just because; whatever happened doesn’t mean that, that the issue that he stands for don’t still exist.”
"If I am being honest, the smart thing would be to bring him back and, and let it interweave it into the, into the show," he added,
Smollett was embroiled in a major scandal in late January, in Chicago, after he claimed he was allegedly attacked in a hate crime, only to later be arrested for supposedly faking it. All criminal charges against him were dropped in March, however.
It was alleged that Smollett staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary on the drama series. Daniels confirmed in June that Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon on the show, will not be coming back for Season 6. He also did not appear in the final two episodes of Season 5.
“Jussie [Smollett] will NOT be returning to Empire,” he tweeted.
“I’m beyond embarrassed,” Daniels said in an interview with Vulture. “We weren’t there. I can’t judge him. That’s only for the f**king lady or man with that black robe and God. I had to detach myself and stop calling him, because it was taking away the time I have for my kids, the time I have for my partner. It was affecting my spirit and other shows, everything."
In the podcast, the "Private Practice" star added: “I feel like, people, I may get in trouble for saying this, but they’re so quick to just to leave, to leave these people. You know what I mean? So quick to, to fire them, so quick to kind of, you know, throw them away as opposed to, you know, taking their time and, maybe letting it, let it work toward, you know, the program or the job, or, you’d probably get to the bottom of it if he, if he stuck around.”
“But I feel like people don’t, they don’t stand behind and support their actors as much as they should, you know? Fear. I think it’s fear," he concluded.
In June, it was announced that an Illinois judge ordered a special prosecutor to investigate why the decision was made to drop all the charges made against Smollett.