It’s not a good day for Lee Daniels.
News broke today Sean Penn is suing the Empire creator a whopping $10 million for comments he made about him in a Hollywood Reporter interview. Lee compared Empire star Terrence Howard’s domestic abuse history to Sean’s alleged violent partner behavior.
“[Terrence] ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he’s some f*ckin’ demon,” Lee told the magazine. “That’s a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America.”
We’re not certain, but we have an inkling Lee is referencing Sean’s rumored abuse toward former wife and Queen of Pop Madonna in the late ’80s. Sean was never arrested, but the couple did divorce after only four years. Plus, a song on Madonna’s Like a Prayer (1989) LP—”Till Death Do Us Part”—is reportedly about Sean. Have a listen.
Here is what Sean’s representatives have to say about Lee’s words and the lawsuit, courtesy of Mashable:
“This action arises from reckless, false, and defamatory statements made by Defendant Lee Daniels (“Daniels”) about one of this generation’s most highly-acclaimed and greatest artists and humanitarians, Sean Penn. 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.”
The report also claims Terrence has “reportedly been arrested approximately five times for violent acts against women.” Yikes.
The biggest issue we have with this is the fact Lee attempted to excuse Terrence’s behavior. Abuse is abuse, and it’s never okay. It seems Lee tried to deflect from Terrence’s behavior by dragging in Sean—very childish and unnecessary.
But what do y’all think? Does Lee make a valid point or nah? Let us know in the comments.