Empire co-creator Lee Daniels and actor Sean Penn could be going head-to-head in a court of law. Penn is suing Daniels for $10 million in a defamation lawsuit, retorting Daniel's claims that Penn was abusive. In a Sept. 16 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Daniels said that the public's attack of Terrence Howard, who has been accused of domestic abuse, was purely racial. "[Terrence] ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden, he's some f---ing demon," Daniels said. The lawsuit admits that Penn has had "brushes with the law," but claims he has never been arrested for domestic assault by his ex-wives, one of which is Madonna. Daniels hasn't responded to the lawsuit. [NBC News]

(l-r): Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images, Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The Empire co-creator is expected to pay an undisclosed amount of the actors' legal fees in the $10 million defamation suit.

Lauren Porter
Nov, 05, 2015

Sean Penn is trying to take a bite out of Lee Daniels' Empire.

Deadline reports that the hit series co-creator has agreed to pay the actor's legal fees in their defamation lawsuit. 

While the dollar amount is being kept under raps, the pay out seems to be a small victory for the Penn counsel. Additionally, Daniels' withdrew a Notice of Removal with the courts to have the case moved to federal court. The matter will remain remanded to the Supreme Court of New York. 

Matthew Rosengart, Penn's attorney, commented on the matter: "We are pleased, but not surprised, that the defendant agreed to withdraw his petition to move the case because, as we maintained all along, their removal effort was baseless." 


The actor and director have been in a legal battle since September after Daniels compared Terrence Howard's recent domestic violence admission to Penn's alleged history of assault.

"That poor boy," Daniels said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "[Terrence] ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he's some f-ing demon. That's a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America."

A $10 Million defamation suit was filed by Penn in September against Daniels.