AceShowbiz - Sean Penn reacted to Lee Daniels' comments in which the "Empire" co-creator compared the "Milk" actor to the show's lead actor, Terrence Howard, who had admitted to hitting women. Penn filed a $10M defamation lawsuit against Daniels.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter recently, Daniels said in defense of Howard, "[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."
Daniels seemed to refer to the numerous reports that Penn assaulted Madonna during their relationship in the 1980s. The actor defended himself in his lawsuit, "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."
"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."
Sean Penn also said that "in his purported 'defense' of Howard, Daniels not only appears to acknowledge Howard's guilt, he also seems to condone Howard's reported misconduct." Penn claimed that Daniels' comments are "apparently part of a misguided campaign to profit and further bolster and brand his show Empire."