Sean Penn is suing Lee Daniels, the co-creator of "Empire" and director of "The Butler," in a $10 million defamation suit.
In the suit, Penn accuses the director of suggesting he hits women, like "Empire" star Terrence Howard.
Daniels told The Hollywood Reporter: "[Terrence] ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he's some f---in' demon. That's a sign of the time, of race, or where we are right now in America."
To recap all sides of that accusation, Howard has admitted to past domestic abuse allegations, like breaking down a door and punching his estranged wife in 2001.
But while Penn has had issues with the law, his lawyer maintains the actor has never been arrested or convicted of domestic violence — something Madonna "would confirm and attest."
Penn's lawyer says the comment has exposed the actor to "pre-judgments and false judgments, which have injured Penn's credibility and reputation."
This video includes images from Getty Images.
An earlier version of this video said Sean Penn was accused of hitting ex-wife Madonna with a baseball bat. There were rumors, but no formal accusations. This video has been updated.