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The “Empire” series premiere was an over-the-top good time. It was so dramatic and salacious, it’s hard to believe that any of this can be the least bit realistic. At least that’s what the shows 9.8 million viewers thought when Terrence Howard‘s character, Lucious, grew angry because his son walked around in his mother’s heels. He literally folded him up and threw him in the trash.

trash can scene empire fox

Well, this situation really happened to the show’s creator, Lee Daniels. In an interview with Larry King, he described the first moment he realized he was gay when he was five.

“My dad was playing cards one Sunday with his cop friends and I put on my mother’s red pumps and walked down the stairs. And he said, ‘What’s going on?! What’s happening?’ And then I got beat, he beat me severely for it. He beat me really bad.”

In an interview with 89.3 KPCC, he said that the scene was especially hard for him to get through because it was a memory that he never really got over as an adult.

“It was a very hard scene to direct because it’s something that happened to me. Because I haven’t gone to therapy, this is sort of therapeutic for me, it’s healing for me to work through my art. Yes, he puts on his mother’s high heels, the son does, and he walks down the stairs, and the father puts him in the trashcan.”

It was a hard scene to watch, so one could imagine how it actually felt to go through it.

The scene was so real that it made Daniels cry during filming. According to Deadline, Howard said:

“Watching Lee while we were shooting this — at one point, he had to look away because he was in tears, because he was facing it. His mother was also there on the set. It was cathartic for Lee. Lee would not allow me to show any compassion in the scene. He reminded me how much Lucious loved little Jamal, but my need for the boy to be a strong man was greater than my need to show my love to him. That was a difficult scene.”

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Hard To Watch Trash Can Scene From ‘Empire’ Actually Happened  was originally published on

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