Sean Penn and Lee Daniels Settle $10 Million Defamantion Lawsuit, Say Sorry
I am so sorry that I have hurt you, Sean, and I apologize and retract my reckless statements about you. How thoughtless of me. You are someone I consider a friend, a brilliant actor and true Hollywood legend and humanitarian.
In a statement of his own, Penn responded:
“I accept Lee’s heartfelt apology and appreciate the sincerity with which it was delivered. I also accept and appreciate his generous donation to J/P HRO, which will have a transformative effect on the lives of those we serve in Haiti.”
In addition to the public apology letter, Daniels donated to Penn’s charity, J/P Haitian Relief Organization.
The suit was filed last September after Daniels, co-creator of Empire, called out Penn in comparison to the show’s star Terrence Howard during a Hollywood Reporter, around the time Howard admitted to hitting his wife in an interview with Rolling Stone: “That poor boy, [Terrence] ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he’s some f*cking demon. That’s a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America.”
Penn’s initial lawsuit claimed “Daniels falsely equat[ed] 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.”
Daniels also said in his statement about domestic violence:
I too have been the subject of false attacks by others, like those made here. My most important role is as a father, and it is important to me that my children learn that it is wrong to reference gossip as fact, as I did here. That can be very damaging and hurtful.
Domestic violence is a very serious issue. My comments were cavalier; it was not my intention to diminish the severity of the issue, but rather to express a view regarding the disparate treatment of men of color in our national conversation. I apologize again for the distress that this has caused you and your family.