Sean Penn has won a formal apology from filmmaker Lee Daniels to settle his $10 million (£6.9 million) defamation lawsuit.
The Milk star launched legal action against Daniels in September (2015), claiming the director made “false and defamatory statements” about him in relation to domestic abuse, while defending Terrence Howard after his Empire leading man confessed to lashing out at his ex-wives in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
He even called on his ex-wife, Madonna, to submit a sworn statement to the State Supreme Court of New York, insisting he never laid a finger on her during an incident in 1989, which allegedly resulted in Penn’s arrest for domestic assault and battery.
Daniels fought for the suit’s dismissal, but on Wednesday (04May16), it was revealed the case had been settled, according to TMZ.com.
As part of the confidential agreement, Daniels issued a public apology to Penn, which read: “I am so sorry that I have hurt you Sean, and I apologize and retract my reckless statements about you. How thoughtless of me. You are someone I consider a friend, a brilliant actor and true Hollywood legend and humanitarian.”
Daniels admitted he wanted to set a good example for his children, and added, “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 in color in our national conversation. I apologize again for the distress that this has caused you and your family. My very best, Lee Daniels.”
Formally accepting the statement, Penn responded, “I accept Lee’s heartfelt apology and appreciate the sincerity with which it was delivered.”
Further details about the settlement have not been released, but Penn revealed Daniels had made a “generous donation” to his J/P Haitian Relief Organization, which continues to provide aid to those affected by the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti.