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Openly Gay Director Lee Daniels' Violent Childhood Involves Getting Beaten Up & Thrown in Trash by Cop Father

Christell Fatima M. Tudtud
Jul 14, 2021
05:40 A.M.
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Coming out as gay was not an easy process for renowned director Lee Daniels, who experienced being beaten by his father over his sexuality. At one point, his dad even threw him in the trash. Here's a glimpse of his violent childhood.


One of today's most successful filmmakers, openly gay director Lee Daniels is the person behind such critically-acclaimed films as "Precious" and "The Butler."

Also a gifted screenwriter and producer, Daniels was the first African-American producer to solely produce an Oscar-winning film, which happened to be "Monster's Ball" starring Halle Berry, who won Best Actress.

Lee Daniels at the LACMA Art + Film Gala on November 4, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images


Before winning awards for his films, Daniels had a hard time expressing his sexuality because his father, a Philadelphia policeman, would beat him. He recalled a sad memory:

"I walked down the stairs with high heels on, and he put me in the trash can."

Those high heels belonged to his mother, who understood him better than his abusive father. When his mother found out his father had thrown him in the trash, she stood up for her son.


Daniels, who was eight at that time, shared he could still remember the stench, the cold, and the darkness inside the garbage can. But this was just one of the abusive moments he had to go through at the hands of his father.

The 61-year-old celebrated producer was also severely beaten up as a kid. But his abuse did not hold him back from coming out as gay. This did not sit well with his father, however.

His oppressive father beat him up with the use of an extension cord. Daniels loathed his dad and could not understand why he would treat his son in such a cruel way.


The acclaimed director's cold-hearted father simply could not accept the fact that he was gay. Daniels sank into a dark path after his father refused to accept his true identity.

Daniels recently inked a new multi-year overall deal with 20th Television.

He said his father even threatened to kill him if he slept with a man. In his late 20s, Daniels consumed excessive amounts of alcohol and took drugs to forget the problems he had at home with his dad.


While he could not get love from his father, Daniels found an ally in his grandmother, who was the first to know he was gay. He described his open-minded grandmother as a brilliant woman.

His grandmother was a politician and the first Black woman who attended Dukes University. He said she found greatness within him, contrary to his dad. "My dad told me I was going to be nothing," Daniels recalled.

His grandma's message was hard to understand at that time, but he found her words comforting. Since he was different from other men, she reminded him about people who would judge him.


Daniels' grandmother assured him that he would get used to people's judgment. But she also reminded him that he had nothing to worry about as long as he was fearless and honest.

Meanwhile, his father passed away while in his line of duty in 1975. Despite his dad's rough treatment of him back in the day, Daniels said he no longer hated him.

He may have bitter childhood memories, but the talented filmmaker proved he has so much to offer the world through his work in the entertainment industry.


Daniels recently inked a new multi-year overall deal with 20th Television. It was the same studio where he co-created the hit TV show "Empire," starring Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollet.

Presently, he is developing a "Waiting to Exhale" series reboot. Daniels will produce more TV projects under his new deal with the network, including the series "Our Kind of People" and "The Spook Who Sat by the Door."


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