Sean Penn Files $10M Defamation Lawsuit Against ‘Empire’ Creator Lee Daniels

Sean Penn Files $10M Defamation Lawsuit Against ‘Empire’ Creator Lee Daniels
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Sean Penn filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against the creator of the show “Empire,” Lee Daniels, saying that Daniels accused Penn of domestic violence, comparing him with “Empire” star Terrence Howard.


In an interview with Rolling Stone, Howard admitted subjecting his wife to domestic violence. Daniels, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, backed Howard, 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.”

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According to the complaint, filed on Tuesday in the New York Supreme Court, Penn claims that “in purporting to ‘defend’ the ongoing legal and related troubles of [Howard] — who has reportedly, and publicly, admitted to physically abusing at least one woman and reportedly been arrested approximately five times for violent acts against women — Daniels has falsely asserted and/or implied that Penn is guilty of ongoing, continuous violence against women.”

What Daniels’ said in his interview was “apparently part of a misguided campaign to profit and further bolster and brand his show Empire.” The lawsuit, while highlighting that Penn “has certainly had several brushes with the law,” says that he, unlike Howard, “has never been arrested, much less convicted, for domestic violence, as his ex-wives (including Madonna) would confirm and attest.”

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As reported by People Magazine, Mathew Rosengart, Penn’s attorney, said, “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. Sean has been subjected to false, baseless and reckless attacks for years, and this is only the most recent example.”

Penn is the recipient of two best actor Oscar Awards – for “Mystic River” and “Milk.” He is also the co-founder of the Jenkins-Penn Haiti Relief Organization, a non profit group, which was formed in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, according to Yahoo News. However, he has also exhibited hostile behavior. He was accused of kicking a celebrity photographer in 2010, for which he pleaded no contest to vandalism. The case was dismissed. In 1980s, he was accused of punching a man who tried to kiss Madonna. Penn also admitted to punching an extra on the set of the movie “Colors.”

Daniels has been nominated for an Oscar for “Precious,” “The Paperboy” and “The Butler.”

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