America’s seventh president was well known for having a quick temper and the fists and dueling skills to follow it up, but the Oscar winner who is set to play Andrew Jackson for HBO is not so pugilistic in real life – at least not according to his ex-wife. Leaping into Sean Penn’s $10 million defamation lawsuit against Lee Daniels for the first time, Madonna today said that reports of her former husband’s violent and aggressive behavior toward her back in the 1980s are simply not true.
“I am aware of the allegations that have surfaced over the years accusing Sean of incidents of physical assault and abuse against me,” said the superstar singer in a short declaration (read it here) accompanying an amended complaint by Penn. “Specifically, I am aware of the allegations concerning an alleged incident that occurred in June, 1987, whereby (according to tabloid reports), Sean allegedly struck me with ‘a baseball bat.’ I know the allegations in those and other reports to be completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false.”
According to Penn’s amended complaint (read it here) that hits back at Daniels’ recent filing claiming that the Oscar-nominated director speech is protected by the Constitution: “As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously observed almost 100 years ago, the First Amendment is not absolute. Just as it does not protect a person from ‘shouting fire in a crowded theatre,’ it also does not protect defamatory conduct.”
Madonna also added in the declaration of October 7 that she is “also aware of allegations concerning an incident that occurred in December, 1989, which purportedly resulted in Sean’s arrest for domestic assault and battery against me. I know those allegations to be false,” she said.
“While we certainly had more than one heated argument during our marriage, Sean has never struck me, ‘tied me up,’ or physically assaulted me, and any report to the contrary is completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false,” Madonna asserts, giving a peek inside the relationship.
Penn took the Empire co-creator to court this fall after becoming upset when Daniels used supposed “false and defamatory” language in an interview earlier this year that strongly suggested that the actor was well known to have abused women. Proposing a double standard based on race, Daniels made the remarks in reference to the public persona that Empire star Terrence Howard has gotten in some circles for his past run-ins with law and domestic violence incidents.
“Daniels falsely equates Penn with Howard, even though, while he has certainly had several brushes with the law, Penn (unlike Howard) has never been arrested, much less convicted, for domestic violence, as his ex-wives (including Madonna) would confirm and attest,” said the multimillion-dollar, jury trial-seeking defamation complaint filed in late September by Mathew Rosengart of L.A.’s Greenberg Traurig for Penn.
Earlier this month, Daniels and his attorneys entered a motion to see the case dismissed. That motion included a biography of Madonna as an accompanying exhibit as well as Google search and more intended to display that Penn’s behavior was well known. That’s a very important point in a defamatation case, as Penn’s side need to prove that Daniels truly and honestly knew that what he was saying about the two-time Oscar winner was untrue. A move that today’s response from Penn’s lawyers and Madonna made just a whole lot more complicated.