Sean Penn Sues Lee Daniels for Comparing Him to Terrence Howard

Actor Sean Penn has filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against Philly-born Empire director Lee Daniels. The complaint, which was filed today in the New York Supreme Court, states that, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (THR), Daniels suggested that Penn hit women by comparing him to Empire star and Lafayette Hill-based actor Terrence Howard. As we reported last fall, Howard has “been accused of assaulting, hitting, attacking or grabbing women six different times, including an incident with a total stranger in a Montgomery County diner. Only two of the alleged incidents led to criminal charges, and Howard was found guilty of ‘disorderly conduct’ both times.”

In the interview with THR, Daniels said that “[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.”

The lawsuit, which can be read in full here, calls Daniels’ statement “egregious on several levels” and slams him for acknowledging and condoning Howard’s misconduct. “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 would confirm and attest.” It goes on to say that Daniels made the statement as a way to generate buzz for Empire, which launches its second on September 23rd.

“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,” the complaint goes on to say. “Accordingly, and because of Daniels’ defamatory statements, Penn brings this action for monetary relief, and to deter Daniels and others from their defamatory actions.”

Read more on the story on The Hollywood Reporter.