Sean Penn Files $10 Million Lawsuit Against Lee Daniels for Comparing Him to Terrence Howard

Sean Penn wants everyone to know he’s nothing like Terrence Howard, so he’s suing Lee Daniels for $10 million for making an offhand comment linking him to domestic abuse.

In other words, defamation, he claims.

The creator of Empire stood up for his lead actor Howard, whose history of abuse against two of his ex-wives has just recently bubbled to the surface. During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last week, Daniels commented,

That poor boy…[Terrence] ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he’s some f*ckin’ demon.

That’s a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America.

Now, Penn has hired former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart to pursue his defamation case, maintaining that Daniels’ words and parallels to abusive behavior has no support or factual basis to it. The first paragraph of his 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 states, “Daniels has falsely asserted and/or implied that Penn is guilty of ongoing, continuous violence against women,” and that “Penn (unlike Howard) has never been arrested, much less convicted, for domestic violence, as his ex-wives (including Madonna) would confirm and attest.”

Ultimately, they maintain that Daniels’ comments are “egregious” and that by seemingly acknowledging Howards’ guilt,he “also seems to condone Howard’s reported misconduct.” Additionally, Penn finds it convenient that Daniels made these remarks “apparently part of a misguided campaign to profit and further bolster and brand his show Empire (on the eve of the Emmy Awards, when the statements were made).”

Furthermore, Penn is described as “one of this generation’s most highly-acclaimed and greatest artists and humanitarians” in the complaint, which is really just tooting his own horn at this point. When it comes down to it, being a humanitarian does not rule out ones ability to also be violent.

While Penn is best known for his humanitarian efforts and acting credos, he allegedly assaulted first wife Madonna in 1988, was arrested, and subsequently charged with domestic assault. Penn pleaded to a misdemeanor and they divorced in 1989. There’s supposedly nothing on record because Madonna reportedly asked that charges be withdrawn, but as the story goes, he allegedly drunkenly held her hostage for 9 hours tied to a chair, beating her with a bat.

GossipCop source reveals that Penn has “had enough of the misinformation [from media outlets] presuming it to be true” that has been violent with women, and that it’s simply not true. “He’s not a saint,” they add. “He’s had brushes with the law,” referencing his instances with paparazzi.

Howard’s most recent allegation is from 2013, in which he was accused of punching then-estranged wife Michelle Ghent in the face during a reconciliation vacation in Costa Rica. He was arrested in 2001 for assaulting his first wife, and in 2005 he was charged with assault after allegedly punching a woman in a diner, and pled guilty to harassment. In 2013 his second wife got a restraining order against him.

Let it be known: no one should get a pass when it comes to domestic violence, abuse, and assault. No one. Violence against women is never okay now, back then, or in the future, whether or not you’re a famous actor.

[The Hollywood Reporter]