Remember last week when we told you about Lee Daniels offering the worse defense of Terrence Howard’s history of domestic abuse in The Hollywood Reporter? In case you forgot his exact words, he said:
“That poor boy. [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, of where we are right now in America.”
Well that remark didn’t only leave a bad taste in our mouths, Sean Penn is also feeling a type of way about being brought into the situation, so much so that he’s suing Lee Daniels for $10 million for defamation. Former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart declined to comment to The Hollywood Reporter on the suit filed Tuesday but pointed out the first paragraph of the complaint which reads:
“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 complaint goes on to say:
“Daniels falsely equates Penn with Howard, even though, while he has certainly had several brushes with the law, Penn (unlike Howard) has never been arrested, much less convicted, for domestic violence, as his ex-wives (including Madonna) would confirm and attest.”
For Penn, there’s a thin line between having committed acts and being guilty of them in the eyes of the law. In February, following an off-color joke the actor told at the end of the Academy Awards that ruffled many viewers’ feathers, The Daily Beast ran a piece on Penn’s history of alleged abuse, noting:
Penn was extremely violent toward his ex-wife Madonna when the two were married in the 1980s. Once, in June 1987, he allegedly caused the pop superstar to be hospitalized after hitting her across the head with a baseball bat. But Madonna, who remained protective of her husband, refused to press charges since Penn wasalready facing 60 days in jail for assaulting a film extra.
Things got even uglier on December 28, 1989. According to a police report filed by Madonna, Penn scaled their Malibu home that afternoon, found Madonna alone in her bedroom, and told her that he owned her “lock, stock, and barrel.”
According to reports, “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.”
Though Penn was charged with felony assault, Madonna asked the DA to drop the charges and he simply pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. There was also the time Penn was arrested for attempted murder after hanging a paparazzo off the ninth floor balcony of a hotel where he was staying in 2004 and another run-in in 2010 but since this allegation is all about domestic abuse, we won’t dwell on those incidents.
Nevertheless, we’re thinking that whole “baseless” accusation line is out the window as far as this suit’s concerned. Judging by the way Twitter reacted to the complaint, Penn likely wouldn’t been better off ignoring Daniels’ comments which the news cycle already forgot about rather than reminding everyone he and Terrence Howard actually aren’t all that different.
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