So I’ve been watching “Empire” on Fox. Not in real time, but on Hulu. And I’ve got to admit. So far it’s been a pleasure. A guilty pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless.

There are lots of story lines woven throughout the show. One of them has to do with a father’s unwillingness (inability?) to accept the fact that one of his three sons, Jamal, is gay. In a scene that some viewers found to be absurd and others found to be profoundly tragic Lucious, Jamal’s father, throws his approximately 4 year old son in a trashcan after Jamal presents himself dressed in drag at a family gathering.

I’m in the camp of viewers that got caught up in the narrative and was deeply disturbed by the scene. I was and am disturbed because I can actually imagine something like this happening. Or at the very least I can imagine a parent so completely barbaric that they might do something like this to their own child. After all, it does happen.

I don’t know whether it was validating or further saddening to learn about the “inspiration” for this scene. The shows’ producer, Lee Daniels, says that scene was inspired by his own life story:

All of us, not just the TV melodrama fathers of the world, have an obligation to see the human beings in our lives, to truly see them. And whenever possible we have an obligation to love them for who they truly are.

Refusing to see