Penn-Bing $10 Million Lawsuit Escalates

05/09/2003 at 11:00 AM EDT

Sean Penn is free to try to stick it to producer Steven Bing after a Los Angeles judge on Thursday upheld the actor's right to sue Bing for $10 million, reports Reuters.

Penn is accusing Bing of firing him from the still-unproduced movie "Why Men Shouldn't Marry" because he opposed the U.S. war in Iraq.

Penn accused Bing of "borrowing a page from the dark era of Hollywood blacklisting."

Calling his decision "an easy call," Superior Court Judge Irving Feffer rejected Bing's attempt to quash the lawsuit because of a lack of evidence and the producer's claim that Penn wanted "to turn their business dispute into a First Amendment crusade," according to legal papers.

Bing, 38, best known for his bitter paternity dispute over the child he sired with Elizabeth Hurley (DNA tests ultimately proved he was the father), has countered with his own $15 million action against Penn, accusing the actor of attempting to extort money for a role he never accepted.

Penn, 42, will attempt to have that lawsuit dismissed at a June 18 hearing.

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