Sean Penn was born August 17, 1960 in Santa Monica, Calif., his parents and two brothers are in the movie business. He has a high school diploma and was enrolled in an auto mechanics class and took a speech class in college. According to the biography on Internet Movie Database (imdb.com) there were some acting lessons in his teen years.
Over the years Penn has become politically motivated by having conversations with two controversial leaders. In 2008 he spoke with Cuban President, Raul Castro (brother and successor to Fidel Castro) and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. These conversations were for the same article which was published in The Nation’s December 15, 2008 issue. Neither of these men were wanted criminals and there was no apparent real purpose for the conversations.
In the fall of 2015, Penn, actor/director, political activist, two time Academy Award winner and now self-appointed journalist scheduled yet another controversial interview and this time with a notorious drug trafficker, murderer, and escapee from a Mexican prison – Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
El Chapo is the head of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico and as Penn’s article states: he freely admits to supplying “more methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world.” He has broken out of two prisons in Mexico, has since been re-captured, and is awaiting extradition to the U.S. for charges of murder, money laundering, drug trafficking, and his involvement in organized crime.
The reason for the interview was vague and held under the pretext of wanting to make a movie about the drug lord.
The interview printed in the Rolling Stone reads like a movie scene. An interview conducted by a journalist should reveal information that the reader or viewer might have concerns over. It seems Penn is attempting to make El Chapo out to be a brave hero. Would that make a better movie?
There are rumors about El Chapo wanting to have a movie made about his life and was supposedly working with the Mexican actress, Kate del Castillo, prior to his most current prison break in July, 2015. However the possibility of a movie deal doesn’t warrant an interview of this magnitude by a citizen unqualified to meet with an international fugitive.
Michael Schaub quoted Penn in an article printed in the LA Times on Jan. 19, 2016 stating Penn’s purpose for meeting with El Chapo “was supposed to make a contribution about the war on drugs.” Penn admits that this purpose failed. His so-called interview with the notorious drug trafficker left the readers questioning why he felt he was above the law in seeking out a wanted criminal for the purpose of starting a dialogue about the war on drugs from the very person that reportedly makes millions from selling drugs.
Penn, known more for his political activism, and not for anti-drug campaigns, might want to think about changing his self-appointed title to antagonist. An even better gesture to fight the war on drugs might have been to willingly disclose the location of El Chapo to the authorities. I see this as a cheap, immoral and selfish act and should be considered as a betrayal to his country.
- Sean Penn at a Live Talks Los Angeles event on April 3, 2018 in Santa Monica, Calif. Penn will not be called as a witness in El Chapo’s upcoming trial. (Brian Cahn/Zuma Press/TNS): Brian Cahn/Zuma Press/TNS | Used With Permission