“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,'” reads the complaint from Daniels.
Penn is suing Daniels over a comment the filmmaker made to the Hollywood Reporter, comparing legal troubles faced by “Empire” star Terrence Howard to those of Penn and other actors.
Daniels said Howard “ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of the sudden he’s some f—in’ demon. That’s a sign of the time, of race, of where we are right now in America.”
Penn alleges that he’s been falsely accused by Daniels of hitting women, particularly his ex-wife Madonna. In Daniels’ latest filing, he’s enacting the California anti-SLAPP law — despite the fact that the lawsuit comes in New York. The anti-SLAPP law is meant to prevent legal action taken against First Amendment-protected statements.
In December, Madonna issued a statement that allegations that Penn abused her are “completely outrageous, malicious, reckless and false.” However, her defense comes years after news reports of domestic issues in the couple, notes Daniel in his filing.
In a footnote, the complaint even brings up Penn’s “Fast Times at Ridgement High” character Spicoli again, saying, “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?”‘ Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). 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.”
Penn’s attorney Mathew Rosengart responded in a statement on Tuesday: “Mr. Daniels should be ashamed of himself. The Madonna Affidavit conclusively and incontrovertibly demonstrates that Daniels’ statements were false, reckless, and defamatory, and he has no defense to it, and certainly is unconcerned with the truth. Instead, his motion represents a sophomoric, and desperate, effort to stave off a trial, which we look forward to conducting, in order to hold Daniels liable for his egregious misconduct.”
James Sammataro of the Miami offices of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP represents Daniels in the case.