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Sean Penn Settles Defamation Lawsuit Against 'Empire's Lee Daniels

'Empire' co-creator Lee Daniels has apologized to Sean Penn in a statement as part of a settlement in Penn's defamation lawsuit.

Penn had sued Daniels for $10 million over comments he made comparing the actor to Terrence Howard, who's been repeatedly accused of domestic violence.

"That poor boy (Terrence) ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he's some ... demon," Daniels said at the time. "That's a sign of time, of race, of where we are right now in America."

Penn says Daniels' "egregious" comments hurt his credibility and reputation personally, professionally and in his philanthropic endeavours.

"I am so sorry that I have hurt you Sean, and I apologize and retract my reckless statements about you," Daniels said in his public statement.

"How thoughtless of me. You are someone I consider a friend, a brilliant actor and true Hollywood legend and humanitarian."

"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."

"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."

Penn said he accepted Daniels' "heartfelt" apology and appreciated "the sincerity with which it was delivered."

May 5, 2016 |

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