lee-daniels*With the success of “Empire,” and the hit show opening the gates for more diversity in Hollywood, Lee Daniels is sitting pretty being among those at the top of the TV game right now.

And he’s not shy about voicing his preferences when it comes to the series he helped created, as evidenced during a recent roundtable discussion in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

“I don’t know what gives me more pleasure: watching my story unfold or going in and watching a room full of black people talking for me and writing words for black people,” Daniels said when asked if he felt more pressure to diversity his group of talent after the success of “Empire.” “I hate white people writing for black people; it’s so offensive. So we go out and look specifically for African-American voices. Yes, it’s all about reverse racism!”

Among those on hand for the roundtable to discuss Hollywood’s lack of diversity, among other issues, were Beau Willimon (“House of Cards”), Damon Lindelof (“The Leftovers”), Alex Gansa (“Homeland”), Michelle King (“The Good Wife”), and Sarah Treem (“The Affair”).


The Reporter noted “Empire’s attention to diversity as the show boasts having the most diverse writers rooms in network television. And while six of the nine writers on “Empire” are comprised of people of color, it’s not something that was deliberately sought, according to Francie Calfo, head of Imagine Television, the studio behind “Empire.

“It wasn’t as if we sat down and said, ‘Let’s find the best African-American writers for this show,’” Calfo told Variety in January. “We were just looking for the best writers.”

For more of the roundtable panel’s Hollywood Reporter discussion, click here.

the hollywood reporter cover issue 16