Filmmaker and co-creator of “Empire” Lee Daniels has officially responded to Sean Penn’s $10 million defamation lawsuit.
Daniels, through his lawyers, has filed a notice of removal requesting the $10 million dollar case to be moved from the State Supreme Court of New York to a federal district court, according to documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight. The notice of removal was filed given that case is qualified to be heard in a federal court since Daniels lives in New York while Penn resides in California.
Penn filed the defamation lawsuit in September after Daniels' used the 55-year-old actor to describe “Empire” actor Terrence Howard. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (THR) last month, Daniels said, "That poor boy,” referring to Howard, before alluding to other actors who were subject of alleged domestic abuse in the past.
"[Terrence] ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he's some f------ demon," he told THR. "That's a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America."
In Penn’s lawsuit, the actor’s lawyer indicated that "Daniels has falsely asserted and/or implied that Penn is guilty of ongoing, continuous violence against women." The lawsuit went on to state that while Penn had brushes with the law, the actor has never been arrested, much less convicted, for domestic violence, as his ex-wives would confirm and attest."
Mathew Rosengart, Penn’s lawyer told Entertainment Tonight last month that his client has been subjected to “false and baseless attacks for years” with Daniels comment as the “most recent example.”
"As asserted in the lawsuit, there are important issues at stake,” he added, “Including the malicious and reckless repetition of rumors and innuendo at the expense of others."
Apart from the official request for notice of removal, the “Empire” co-creator has kept silent over the issue so far.