ByHeather Snowden, writer at
Lover of bad puns, nostalgic feels and all things Winona. Email: [email protected] Tweet: @heathbetweetin
Heather Snowden

Internationally famous actor and alleged wife beater, Sean Penn, is suing Lee Daniels for $10 million for comparing him to internationally famous actor and confirmed wife beater, Terrence Howard.

Dropped from the Iron Man franchise due to his 'notoriously tiresome behavior', Terrence Howard has a rather tainted track record when it comes to violent outbursts. The Empire star recently admitted to attacking his first wife in a controversial interview with Rolling Stone magazine. Shortly after, in a subsequent profile with the Hollywood Reporter, Empire co-creator Lee Daniels jumped to the actors defense, claiming that outraged reactions were some sort of sorry reflection of the current times.

[Howard] “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.”

Sean Penn, who was recently ghosted out of his engagement to Charlize Theron, hasn't taken too kindly to the comparison and is smacking Daniels with a 10 million dollar lawsuit, claiming that not only is the use of his name a defamation of character but it falsely assumes Penn is guilty of continual violence against women.

Within the complaint, Penn's lawyers state that:

“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.”
Terrence Howard mugshots
Terrence Howard mugshots

The lawsuit also claims that regardless of Penn's 'brushes with the law', he has never actually been arrested, much less convicted of domestic violence, unlike Terrence Howard, who has been arrested six times for allegedly beating up women.

The lawsuit calls that the Daniels suggestion is,

"part of a misguided campaign to profit and further bolster and brand his show Empire.”

Furthermore, in a statement to People magazine, Mathew Rosengart (Penn's attorney) said,

“As asserted in the lawsuit, there is also a critical issue at stake here, which is the malicious and reckless repetition of rumors and innuendo at the expense of others. Sean has been subjected to false, baseless and reckless attacks for years, and this is only the most recent example.”

Now, whilst I understand that false accusations can be quite detrimental to ones career, claiming that these 'malicious rumors' are entirely 'baseless' is a bit of a long shot.

in June 1987, Penn allegedly hospitalized his then wife, Madonna, after hitting her around the head with a baseball bat. However, as the actor was already facing 60 days in prison for assaulting an film extra, she didn't press charges. Uglier still, according to reports, in December 1989 Penn snuck into the pop stars Malibu home, tied her up and repeatedly beat her for nine hours.

According to the Daily Beast:

“When she told him she was leaving the house, he tried to bind her hands with an electric lamp and cord. Screaming and afraid, Madonna fled from the bedroom. What followed was a nine-hour ordeal which left her deeply shaken. Penn chased her into the living room, caught her and bound her to a chair with heavy twine. Then he threatened to cut off her hair.”

He allegedly “smacked and roughed up” Madonna while she was tied to a chair, and then left for a few hours to buy more booze—leaving his then-wife bound and gagged—only to return and continue terrorizing her. He only agreed to untie her after she “agreed to perform a degrading sex act on him,” and then fled the house, got in her car, and raced to the sheriff’s office—eventually stumbling inside.

“I hardly recognized her as Madonna,” Lt. Bill McSweeney said at the time. “She was weeping, her lip was bleeding and she had obviously been struck.”

However, due to the level of emotional trauma, Madonna requested the charges against Sean dropped because she could not cope with the press attention.

Defamation and PR aside, I can't help but feel Lee Daniels' comment to the Hollywood Reporter utterly trivializes domestic abuse, regardless of whether Terrence Howard is a 'f*cking demon', or not.

What do you think?

Sources: The Daily Beast, Madonna: An Intimate Biography, EW, Gawker


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