Actor Sean Penn today filed a $10 million lawsuit against the co-creator of the Fox drama series “Empire.” The Hollywood Reporter’s THR, Esq. reports that Penn filed the defamation suit against Lee Daniels, who along with co-creating “Empire” is the director of “The Butler” and “Precious.”
“The complaint, filed Tuesday in New York Supreme Court, asserts that in Daniels’ recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Penn was falsely accused of hitting women by being likened to ‘Empire’ star Terrence Howard,” the story reports.
The piece quotes Daniels, commenting on Howard’s legal issues in the recent THR interview, saying: “[Terrence] ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he’s some f—in’ demon. That’s a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America.”
Penn’s complaint states: “As a result of Penn’s status as a public figure, he has for years been the subject of scandalous, scurrilous, and baseless attacks. But Penn, like any citizen, has a right to defend himself and will no longer tolerate the reckless and malicious behavior of others, who seek to aggrandize themselves or their projects at his expense. Accordingly, and because of Daniels’ defamatory statements, Penn brings this action for monetary relief, and to deter Daniels and others from their defamatory actions.”
The complaint also reportedly asserts that Howard has publicly admitted he has physically abused women and accuses Daniels of supporting Howard’s alleged misconduct.
The suit also states: “Daniels falsely equates Penn with Howard, even though, while he has certainly had several brushes with the law, Penn (unlike Howard) has never been arrested, much less convicted, for domestic violence, as his ex-wives (including Madonna) would confirm and attest.”