Well that's certainly gonna put a damper on premiere week for Empire creator Lee Daniels!
Ahead of Wednesday's start for Season 2, the FOX showrunner is getting slapped with a $10 million defamation lawsuit, courtesy of Sean Penn!
The Mystic River actor filed the complaint on Tuesday after Lee compared him and Terrence Howard in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that ran last week.
Photos: Terrence Shows Up To The Emmys With His Ex-Wife!
Lee defended his star, who has been making headlines for his ongoing legal battle with his ex-wife Michelle Ghent, who alleges that he threatened and beat her. He said:
"[Terrence] ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he's some f*ckin' demon. That's a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America."
Now, Sean definitely did NOT appreciate that!
In his lawsuit, it says that it was wrong for Lee to make it seem as though the two actors were equals, since the Milk star has never been locked up for beating a significant other:
"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."
The pop princess did file a domestic assault claim against him in the late '80s, but she later withdrew it, asking police to not press criminal charges.
Sean's complaint states that he's going after Lee for such a large amount of money to prevent him from drawing comparisons like this again:
"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."
So, the Empire mastermind suddenly has a lot more to worry about than the season premiere of his smash hit.
[Image via Al-Wire/Ivan Nikolov/WENN.]
Tags: controversy, empire, lee daniels, legal matters, madonna, marlon brando, sean penn, terrence howard, the hollywood reporter, violence