Actor Sean Penn
HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images

You see the trouble Terrence Howard is causing? Well, technically he didn’t cause it, but when director Lee Daniels recently defended Howard’s past abuse, he mentioned actor Sean Penn.

In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Daniels commented on Howard’s domestic-abuse issues, as well as his interview in Rolling Stone.

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“That poor boy. [Terrence] ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he’s some [f—kin’] demon,” Daniels said. “That’s a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America.”

And thus the beginning of the lawsuit.

According to Penn, who also has a well-documented history that includes allegations of violence, Daniels has defamed his character.

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In the complaint filed by Mathew Rosengart, Penn’s lawyer, the lawsuit states, “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.”

Penn’s lawsuit also states that unlike Howard, he’s never been arrested on any domestic violence charges.

“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.”

But according to the New York Daily News, potential charges did loom over him during his relationship with Madonna. Penn reportedly copped a plea in a domestic violence incident while married to her but pleaded to a misdemeanor. In addition, there was an incident, also cited by the Daily News, in which he reportedly attacked a photographer on a movie set and spent 33 days in jail.

Daniels has yet to comment about the lawsuit, but it’ll be interesting to see what skeletons now fall out of Penn’s closet.