The lawsuit, filed in state court in New York on Tuesday, states:

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.

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.

Mathew Rosengart, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Sean Penn, told Deadline, “Sean is dismayed at the gratuitous attacks and statements that have made over the years at his expense and he wants to take a stand and correct the record.” Rosengart added Lee’s remarks were “apparently part of a misguided campaign to profit and further bolster and brand his show ‘Empire.'”

The lawsuit comes one day before the season two premiere of “Empire.”

Lee Daniels hasn’t commented on the lawsuit.


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