Lee Daniels
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

During a recent sitdown on the talk show The Real, Lee Daniels made some eyebrow-raising comments about racism.

During a segment about the backlash against the Mall of America’s black Santa, the Empire creator said, “I wouldn’t be where I was if I embraced racism. If I embraced it, then it became real. And if it became real, I would be an angry black man.”

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Daniels also said that he was in “denial” about the current state of race relations in the country and that his children don’t comprehend race because they grew up with a white and a black father.

The Oscar-nominated director also opened up about why, despite his hesitation, he chose a white lead for his new Fox series Star, a drama centered on a rising female singing group.

“In the beginning, [the story] is told through a white girl’s perspective because I felt that the country instinctively, I thought, needed to heal,” Daniels stated. “And I think that this white girl is so fabulous that black people will embrace her and white people will embrace her.”

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Clearly, Twitter didn’t take too kindly to Daniels’ “new black” comments:

Later in the interview, Daniels stressed that Star will address current events and even politics.

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“I wanted to explore politics, as I do with most of my work, what’s going on right now in America,” he said. “So we explore the excitement and the glamour of the evolution of a group, weaved in with a little bit of what’s happening now in the streets.”

Star, which debuts on Dec. 14, also features Queen Latifah, Tyrese, Benjamin Bratt, Naomi Campbell and Lenny Kravitz.