Sean Penn Doesn't Want To Be Compared To Terrence Howard

Sean Penn is suing Lee Daniels for a comment the director made that likened "Empire" star Terrence Howard's abuse history to Penn's.
Posted at 5:21 PM, Sep 22, 2015

Sean Penn is suing Lee Daniels, the co-creator of "Empire" and director of "The Butler," in a $10 million defamation suit.

In the suit, Penn accuses the director of suggesting he hits women, like "Empire" star Terrence Howard.

Daniels told The Hollywood Reporter: "[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, or where we are right now in America."

To recap all sides of that accusation, Howard has admitted to past domestic abuse allegations, like breaking down a door and punching his estranged wife in 2001. 

Brando reportedly sexually abused his daughter Cheyenne. And Penn has long faced rumors of a domestic incident with ex-wife Madonna. 

But while Penn has had issues with the law, his lawyer maintains the actor has never been arrested or convicted of domestic violence — something Madonna "would confirm and attest."

The lawsuit could not come at a worse time for Daniels: "Empire" premieres Wednesday. In the complaint, Penn says Daniels "seems to condone Howard's reported misconduct."

"Empire" is premiering its second season after a critically acclaimed first season — one which was largely snubbed at the Emmys. Daniels' comment was published a few days before the award show aired. 

Penn's lawyer says the comment has exposed the actor to "pre-judgments and false judgments, which have injured Penn's credibility and reputation."

This video includes images from Getty Images.

An earlier version of this video said Sean Penn was accused of hitting ex-wife Madonna with a baseball bat. There were rumors, but no formal accusations. This video has been updated.