Oscar-winner Sean Penn is suing director Lee Daniels for comparing him to another actor, Terrence Howard, in terms of their alleged history of abusing women, E! Online reports. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Empire co-creator Daniels discusses Empire star Howard being sued by his ex-wife for domestic violence. "[Terrence] ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he's some [expletive] demon," Daniels says. "That's a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America." Penn's lawsuit filed today in New York calls that statement "reckless, false, and defamatory," E! reports. He's seeking $10 million in damages.
"Sean has been subjected to false, baseless, and reckless attacks for years, and this is only the most recent example," his attorney tells E! The lawsuit alleges Howard has publicly admitted to abusing at least one woman and has been arrested five or so times for violence against women. On the other hand, the lawsuit boasts Penn—who it refers to as one "of the greatest actors and humanitarians of our time"—has never been arrested or convicted for domestic violence. But Slate reports Penn was arrested for allegedly tying his then-wife Madonna to a chair and physically and emotionally abusing her for hours in 1987. Madonna later dropped the charges.