Malik Yoba‘s comments in a recent interview about Empire star Jussie Smollett with BlackFilm.com has caused a social media firestorm. According to the site, Yoba inadvertently outed his co-star and friend, but he’s officially denying that intention. In an exclusive statement to USA Today delivered by his publicist, Yoba says he was misquoted:
“I was misquoted in the article. My reference to Jussie was only about his character and storyline onEmpire.”
When someone deliberately chooses to keep his or her sexuality guarded, it makes sense to keep it that way when talking about them to the media. Smollett, who plays gay character Jamal on Empire, has kept silent on his sexual orientation.
Read Yoba’s original faux pas as he tried to talk about the cultural significance of Empire.
I think that our show represents a huge opportunity to stay in the culture beyond entertainment value and there’s an intrinsic nature [if] you have the gay factor, right? So, obviously, Lee is gay. That was an important storyline for him. I think it’s important for people to see themselves. Even within the Black community. But if you aren’t really, really taking it off of screen and making it live in the community in a significant way … like I know Jussie, he is gay, and he’s very committed to issues around the LGBT community. He and I have a very close relationship.
Swing and a miss.
Smollett has not commented on the interview.