Sean Penn, Fed Up With Domestic Violence Rumors, Sues Lee Daniels For Defamation

Sean Penn has taken deep offense to being called a wife beater. Lee Daniels, creator of Empire, maligned his name. Penn is suing Daniels for $10 million for defamation of character.

Apparently, rumors abounded in the 1980s that Sean Penn beat then-wife pop superstar Madonna. TMZ reports that several publications erroneously stated that Penn was charged and convicted of domestic violence. As TMZ looked into the decades-old allegations, they found them to be false. Not only was Sean Penn not convicted of beating Madonna, he was never even charged with the crime.

So when Lee Daniels, in a bid to defend Empire star Terrence Howard’s brutality toward women, likened him to Sean Penn, Penn was furious.

“[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 is speaking of the backlash Howard endured after admitting in an interview that he hit his first wife.

Sean Penn was immediately upset about again being accused of abuse towards women. In the lawsuit, Penn states he is suing Daniels for defamation of character.

“Daniels’ defense of Howard (and his improper invocation of two of the greatest actors and humanitarians of our time, Brando and Penn, in doing so) is apparently part of a misguided campaign to profit and further bolster and brand his show ‘Empire.’ “

According to Fox News, Penn’s lawsuit alleges that Howard has been “arrested five times for violence toward women,” which draws the comparison that Penn has never been charged with this type of crime. Though Penn has been charged and prosecuted for attacks on paparazzi, he maintains he does not hit women.

The lawsuit against Daniels states the following, Entertainment Weekly reports.

“… in purporting to ‘defend’ the ongoing legal and related troubles of [Howard] — who has reportedly, and publicly, admitted to physically abusing at least one woman and reportedly been arrested approximately five times for violent acts against women — Daniels has falsely asserted and/or implied that Penn is guilty of ongoing, continuous violence against women.”

Penn’s lawsuit against Lee Daniels also goes mentions that the women Sean has had relationships with would back up his claim of non-violence toward women.

“[Sean Penn] 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.”

Do you think Sean Penn should sue Lee Daniels, or is he overreacting?

[Image credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images]

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