During a chat with BlackFilm.com last month (Feb15), Malik appeared to openly discuss Smollett's sexuality, but he now insists he was talking about the actor's character on their hit new Lee Daniels Tv drama.
Malik said, "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.
"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."
Malik has now attempted to distance himself from the online article, stating, "I was misquoted. My reference to Jussie was only about his character and storyline on Empire."
Smollett has not 'come out' as a gay man and he has yet to address what Malik has been credited with saying, but he has made it clear he can understand why some people might assume he is gay, like his character, stating, "I don't see a problem with that and I don't really care... This is not a gay black show. This is a show about human experiences... I'm not willing to confirm or deny anything."