Sean Penn’s $10 million libel lawsuit against Lee Daniels is over. Daniels apologized and is donating an undisclosed amount of money to Penn’s charity J/P Haitian Relief Organisation to end the lawsuit, which Penn filed last year over Daniels’ comments in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Daniels said Terrence Howard, the actor who plays Lucious Lyon in Fox’s Empire show, which Daniels co-created, “ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn.” Howard was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife Michelle Ghent in 2013. He admitted he “smacked” his first wife in 2001, the Associated Press reported.
Penn announced his lawsuit against Daniels in September, saying in the suit that “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.”
In December, Madonna said allegations that Penn abused her, specifically the claim about him hitting her with a baseball bat, were “completely outrageous, malicious, reckless and false.” She went on,
“While we certainly had more than one heated argument during our marriage, Sean has never struck me, ‘tied me up,’ or physically assaulted me, and any report to the contrary is completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false.”
Daniels apologized in a statement published by People:
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“I am so sorry that I have hurt you, Sean, and I apologize and retract my reckless statements about you. How thoughtless of me. You are someone I consider a friend, a brilliant actor and true Hollywood legend and humanitarian.”
Daniels added that his comment was “cavalier,” writing:
“Domestic violence is a very serious issue. My comments were cavalier; it was not my intention to diminish the severity of the issue, but rather to express a view regarding the disparate treatment of men of color in our national conversation. I apologize again for the distress that this has caused you and your family.”
Penn accepted the apology with his own comment in the statement that read:
“I accept Lee’s heartfelt apology and appreciate the sincerity with which it was delivered. I also accept and appreciate his generous donation to J/P HRO, which will have a transformative effect on the lives of those we serve in Haiti.”
iMediaEthics has written to Daniels’ and Penn’s lawyers for comment.