Sean Penn (55) is suing Lee Daniels for an unfavorable comparison to actor, Terrence Howard (46).
Last week Howard spoke out about his violent past in a new, brutally honest interview. He confessed to having some vicious episodes with both of his ex-wives, Lori McCommas and Michelle Ghent. The Empire actor, previously arrested for battery, reported that his actions with regards to Ghent were self-defence.
After the interview, Howard’s co-worker, Lee Daniels, decided to add in his own opinion on the matter. He told The Hollywood Reporter:
“(Terrance) 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.”
Finding the comparison harsh, Penn filed a $10 million defamation suit against Daniels on Tuesday, September 22.
Both men have a history with the law, but while Howard has been arrested a couple of times and even admitted guilt to disorderly conduct, Penn denies having ever been arrested or convicted for domestic violence. The law suit outlines:
“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.”
According to People magazine, in 1988 there were rumors of an alleged domestic dispute between Penn and Madonna. However there is no proof that he was ever charged and Madonna has never claimed abuse. The suit states:
“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.”
The suit also outlines Penn’s many achievements and the impact that such an accusation/association could have on him personally and in terms of his career. He is a humanitarian, enthusiastic volunteer, accomplished journalist, writer, award winning actor and artist. As such, his status and reputation is very important. The suit reads:
“The (…) defamatory statements made by Daniels have caused Penn great anguish and emotional distress and have exposed him to pre-judgments and false judgments, which have injured Penn’s credibility and reputation in his personal life, occupation, and philanthropic activities, the latter of which are particularly important in view of Penn’s significant and high-profile positions (in Haiti).”
Federal prosecutor, Mathew Rosengart is Penn’s attorney and filed the case in the New York Supreme Court.
This isn’t the first time domestic violence has come to light in the celebrity world and unfortunately it likely won’t be the last.
enews “Sean Penn Sues Lee Daniels for Defamation’” Youtube. 22 April 2015. Web. 23 September 2015.