Sean Penn doesn't appreciate his name being mentioned by Empire creator Lee Daniels. To show that he means business, the actor filed a $10 million defamation complaint on Tuesday stating that Daniels's recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter falsely asccused him of physically abusing women in comparison to Empire's leading man, Terrence Howard.
"[Terrence] ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden, he's some f****n' demon," Daniels said, referencing Howard's highly publicized legal woes. "That's a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America."
In response to Daniel's claims, Penn has tapped former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart, who shared the first paragraph of the Oscar winner's complaint: "As a result of Penn's status as a public figure, he has for years been the subject of scandalous, scurrilous, and baseless attacks," it reads. "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."
While Penn takes offense to Daniels's statement, insisting that it is fully false, reports show that he isn't telling the full truth. In 1986, he was allegedly fined and sentenced to one-year's probation for assaulting a friend of his ex-wife Madonna's. After violating the terms of the sentence in 1987, he was sentenced to 60 days in the L.A. County Jail.
Following reports that his marriage to then-wife Madonna was on the rocks, despite her failed divorce filing in 1988, the separated couple chose to live separately, with Penn moving into his parents' house, leaving the singer in their Malibu home. More whispers of domestic violence started after reports surfaced that days after Christmas in 1988, Penn broke into the Malibu residence to confront her, allegedly tying her to a chair and gagging her before beating her physically and emotionally for hours. He eventually untied her and she rushed to a nearby police station to file a report. They legally divorced the following year.
Despite these claims, Penn holds firm on his stance that he is innocent in the comparison to Howard, with the lawsuit stating, "Daniels falsely equates 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 has not yet responded to Penn's claims.
Speaking of Empire, check out our interview earlier this year with Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett.
(Photo from left: Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images, Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)
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