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“Empire” Creator Lee Daniels Publicly Apologizes To Sean Penn In Defamation Case

In exchange, Penn has dropped his $10-million defamation lawsuit over the domestic violence comments.

Posted on May 4, 2016, at 3:39 p.m. ET

Francois Guillot / AFP / Getty Images

Sean Penn has agreed to dismiss his $10-million defamation lawsuit against Empire creator Lee Daniels in exchange for a public apology and a donation to the actor's Haitian relief charity.

Penn filed his lawsuit in September after Daniels compared Empire star Terrence Howard – who is accused of hitting his wife – to Penn in a interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Penn was reportedly accused of domestic abuse against his former wife, Madonna, but he was never arrested or charged.

As part of the confidential settlement agreement, Daniels said he understands the damaging effects of false attacks and how important it is to not reference gossip.

"I am so sorry I have hurt you Sean, and I apologize and retract my reckless statements about you. How thoughtless of me," Daniels wrote in his letter, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News. "You are someone I consider a friend, a brilliant actor and true Hollywood legend and humanitarian."

Sean Penn accepted Daniels apology.

"I accept Lee’s heartfelt apology and appreciate the sincerity with which it was delivered," Penn responded. "I also accept and appreciate his generous donation to J/P HRO, which will have a transformative effect on the lives of those we serve in Haiti."


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