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'Empire' Series Season 2 New York Premiere

Actor Sean Penn is crying foul over comments Lee Daniels made to The Hollywood Reporter, and now he’s suing the Empire co-creator for $10 million in a defamation lawsuit. Daniels defended his star Terrence Howardsaying that past domestic issues he’s had with his ex-wives are no different from that of Sean Penn and Marlon Brando.

“[Terrence] ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he’s some f—in’ demon,” says Daniels. “That’s a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America.”

The Oscar winner’s alleged abuse towards women isn’t necessarily a secret. He reportedly tortured his then-wife Madonna back in 1988, tied her to a chair for nine hours and proceeded to physically abuse her. Madonna never pressed charges, and Penn wasn’t arrested. Neither one of them has ever spoken publicly about the incident.

After the story was retold and told again, the Mystic River actor felt enough was enough. His lawyer told The Hollywood Reporter that this lawsuit is a warning to Daniels and others:

“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.”

Penn believes Daniels made the comment to draw more attention to Empire (the second season premieres September 23). The lawsuit continues:

“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.”

Not that Empire needs any more publicity. The show’s already drummed up more guest stars than ever for their second season, and it’s one of the most-anticipated returning shows for the fall season. And Daniels isn’t one to ever hold his tongue, so we’re sure he’ll have more to say about the lawsuit soon.

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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