Sean Penn has filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against Empire creator Lee Daniels.
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 when compared to Empire star Terrence Howard.
- “(Howard) ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he’s some (expletive) demon,”
In the complaint, Penn states he will “no longer tolerate” allegations of past violence against women.
The first paragraph of the complaint reads:
- “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, emphatically notes that Howard has “reportedly and publicly” admitted to physically abusing women and says Daniels “also seems to condone Howard’s reported misconduct. … Penn (unlike Howard) has never been arrested, much less convicted, for domestic violence, as his ex-wives (including Madonna) would confirm and attest.”
Also at issue is the media fallout. The complaint states that Daniels “also knew or should have known that many publications would carry those statements in their headlines.”
- “As asserted in the lawsuit, there is also a critical issue at stake here, which is the malicious and reckless repetition of rumors and innuendo at the expense of others,” Penn’s lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, said in a statement. “Sean has been subjected to false, baseless, and reckless attacks for years, and this is only the most recent example.”
The lawsuit was filed just one day before Empire returns to Fox for its second season.
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