Sean Penn has filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against Lee Daniels, claiming the "Empire" creator falsely accused the actor of beating women when he compared him to one of the show's stars, Terrence Howard.
"[Terrence] ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he's some f**kin' demon," Daniels told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month, when asked about the "Empire" star's recent legal problems. "That's a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America."
According to THR, those comments prompted Penn to retain former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart and file the defamation suit against the "Precious" director.
The complaint, which was filed on Tuesday, claims Daniels' statements are "egregious," as well as "reckless and malicious," as Howard has "reportedly, and publicly, admitted to physically abusing at least one woman and reportedly been arrested approximately five times for violent acts against women." As such, Penn finds the comparison to the "Empire" star to be untrue, claiming that while he has had 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."
But Daniels' comparison of the two men didn't come out of left field. Penn may not admit to committing any abuse against women, but there are long-standing reports that he put then wife Madonna in the hospital after allegedly hitting her across the head with a baseball bat in June 1987, followed by a torturous nine-hour ordeal described in a December 1988 police report. Madonna told police Penn bound her to a chair with twine, threatened to cut her hair off and "smacked and roughed up" the singer. The then 29-year-old actor is said to have agreed to untie Madonna only after she "agreed to perform a degrading sex act on him."
As for Penn's claims that he's "never been arrested, much less convicted for domestic violence," that appears to be true. While there are reports he was charged with felony domestic assault and later pled guilty to a guilty to a misdemeanor, TMZ now reports Penn was never charged. 10 days after Madonna filed the 1988 police report, the singer filed for divorce from Penn, ending their four-year marriage.
The Huffington Post's request for comment made to Daniel's rep has yet to be returned at this time.
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