Life Ball 2015 - Press ConferenceSean Penn has filed a $10 million lawsuit against "Empire" creator Lee Daniels, alleging that Daniels defamed him in a recent interview.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that Penn filed the suit in reaction to an interview that Daniels gave to THR just last week, in which Daniels discussed "Empire" star Terrence Howard's legal woes in connection with allegations that Howard abused his ex-wives. Daniels had told THR that he thought Howard was being unfairly scorned in the media in comparison to white actors who had allegedly done the same.

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

For some context, Daniels was likely referring to Penn's alleged abuse of his ex-wife Madonna, who he was married to from 1985 to 1989. Vanity Fair points to "the vivid story told in Christopher Andersen's 'Madonna: Unauthorized' about Penn allegedly tying Madonna to a chair for hours and beating her" as the likely source of Daniels's animosity toward the actor.

But Penn -- who has never been arrested for or convicted of domestic violence -- did not take kindly to Daniels's comparison, and filed suit this week seeking $10 million in defamation damages from Daniels. The suit states:

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.

Daniels has yet to respond publicly to the suit.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter]

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