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WATCH: Gay Kiss Aroused 'Ick Factor' in Empire Test Audience

WATCH: Gay Kiss Aroused 'Ick Factor' in Empire Test Audience

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'They're at a 10 until the two men kiss. Then it's down to a zero,' says Lee Daniels, the gay cocreator of the Fox drama.

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Lee Daniels has revealed that a test audience for Empire tested positive for homophobia.

The gay cocreator of the Fox hit, which features a prominent gay character and storyline, recounted how about 100 viewers during a preliminary screening gave low ratings to scenes that featured a kiss between two men.

Daniels told Canada's Daily Xtra that audience members were tasked with rating how much they enjoyed an Empire episode in real time by turning a dial throughout a screening, ranked "Zero they hate it, 10 they love it."

The Precious director watched from behind a one-way mirror as ratings, which were high during the majority of an episode, plunged during these moments of same-sex affection.

"They're at a 10 until the two men kiss. Then it's down to a zero," he said.

When asked by the questioner, "Why is it a zero when two men kiss?" Daniels said the audience, "a hundred people in the room, most of them, 90 percent of them, 95 percent of them were heterosexual -- didn't want to admit to their homophobia, so they just sort of look at the floor."

Daniels, who stood by his assertion that gay people are "third-class citizens," said that "there's a stigma to being gay that ... the world can't shake. There's something about two men being together."

He called the LGBT movement "the civil rights of our time right now, and I think we have to not back down."

Watch the full interview below.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.