Sean Penn has filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against Lee Daniels, according to the Guardian.
The complaint, which was filed on Tuesday, is the result of an interview Daniels gave to the Hollywood Reporter, according to the report.
Daniels—an Oscar-nominated writer and director, as well as the co-creator of Empire, a hit series that airs on Fox—reportedly accused Penn of domestic violence while discussing Empire star Terrence Howard’s history of physical abuse toward women.
Howard has admitted to assaulting his first wife, and he has had two restraining orders filed against him from his second. He has also pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after he was accused of attacking a couple when one of them complained that he had cut the line at a restaurant.
In the interview Daniels said: “That poor boy, [Terrence] ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn and all of a sudden he’s some fuckin’ demon.” Penn was charged with domestic assault in 1988 while he was married to the pop singer Madonna, and he pleaded to a misdemeanor. The year before, he had spent 33 days in jail after assaulting a photographer.
The first paragraph of the actor’s complaint reads:
It goes on to say that by defending Howard, Daniels was essentially condoning his actions.