Sean Penn Wins Apology From Lee Daniels to Settle $10 Million Defamation Lawsuit

“Empire” boss also makes a charitable donation as part of settlement

Last Updated: May 4, 2016 @ 10:42 AM

Sean Penn and Lee Daniels have reached a settlement in Penn’s defamation lawsuit against Daniels.

In exchange for Penn dropping the lawsuit, Daniels has apologized to the actor.

Daniels has also made a charitable donation to Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization.

“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’ apology reads. “I too have been the subject of false attacks by others, like those made here. My most important role is as a father, and it is important to me that my children learn that it is wrong to reference gossip as fact, as I did here. That can be very damaging and hurtful.”

Daniels continued: “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. My very best, Lee Daniels.”

In his own statement, Penn noted, “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.”

Penn sued the “Empire” boss for $10 million last year, claiming that the filmmaker smeared him in an article discussing the domestic abuse allegations against Terrence Howard, star of Daniels’ Fox drama “Empire.”

“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,” the lawsuit quotes Daniels as saying. “That’s a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America.”

Penn contended in his lawsuit that the comparison between himself and Howard was unfair.

“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,” Penn’s lawsuit read.

In his case against Daniels, Penn even enlisted the help of his ex-wife, Madonna, who submitted a declaration that the actor had not physically abused her.

“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,” the declaration read.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.


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