Philadelphia native Lee Daniels has asked that Sean Penn's $10 million defamation lawsuit against him be dismissed, invoking Penn's beloved character Jeff Spicoli in a formal complaint to do so.
"Dismissal is required because the core of the complaint — that Daniels wronged Penn by falsely comparing Penn to someone else — is constitutionally (to quote Penn's iconic movie character Jeff Spicoli) 'bogus,'" Daniels' complaint reads.
Penn initially filed the suit this past September in connection with a Hollywood Reporter article that had Daniels referencing Penn's alleged history of spousal abuse during his marriage to Madonna. In it, Daniels claimed that the allegedly abusive Terrence Howard "ain't done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn," but is nonetheless considered to be "some f——n' demon" due to his race.
With his latest complaint, Daniels refuses to back down from that statement. Throughout the document, he simultaneously cites California's anti-SLAPP law — designed to legally shield First Amendment-protected speech — while referencing Fast Times at Ridgemont High in the complaint's footnote section:
Spicoli understands the United States Constitution better than Penn. For his final, oral exam in high school history class, surfer-dude Spicoli expounds upon the intent of America's founding fathers: 'What Jefferson was saying was, "Hey! You know. We left this England place because it was bogus. So if we don't get some cool rules ourselves – Pronto! – we'll just be bogus, too. Okay?"
To avoid being bogus, Jefferson and his contemporaries adopted the First Amendment, cherished protector of honest opinions and vigilant striker of lawsuits brought to punish and deter such opinions. This "cool rule" animates the California and New York laws that mandate dismissal of Penn's bogus claims.
Madonna has since denied any wrongdoing on Penn's part, writing in a statement that the actor "never struck me, 'tied me up,' or physically assaulted me." Daniels, meanwhile, considers his Penn comment to me "provocative rhetoric."