Just before the season two premiere of “Empire,” co-creator Lee Daniels is dealing with some drama of his own. The famed director is being sued for defamation as Penn claims Daniels implied he abuses women.

The incident all started after Lee Daniels spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about Terrence Howard’s domestic abuse claims, and “The Butler” director believes race plays a role in the public condemning Howard. He told the publication, “[Terrence] ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he’s some f***in’ demon. That’s a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America.”

Daniels was referring to a 1987 incident that involved the “Mystic River” actor allegedly hitting Madonna with a baseball bat and tying her to a chair for nine hours. He was charged with felony assault for the attack, which was later knocked down to a misdemeanor.

The case has been public knowledge for decades, but Penn claims that Daniels’ recent statements have defamed his character.

“As a result of Penn’s status as a public figure, he has for years been the subject of scandalous, scurrilous, and baseless attacks. But Penn, like any citizen, has a right to defend himself and will no longer tolerate the reckless and malicious behavior of others, who seek to aggrandize themselves or their projects at his expense. Accordingly, and because of Daniels’ defamatory statements, Penn brings this action for monetary relief, and to deter Daniels and others from their defamatory actions.”

Lee Daniels has yet to respond to the lawsuit.