At a time when it seems media literacy has all but gone extinct, in Sean Penn’s case, so too has self-awareness. Despite his lengthy history of alleged abuse and numerous run-ins resulting in pummeling paparazzi, it is awe-inspiring that even after 535 days—or 770,400 minutes for those who are counting—he still found time to bring up The Slap in a new interview.
Earlier today, in a cover story interview with Variety, the aging actor had a lot to get off his chest. A person in their right mind (Penn is clearly excluded) would think the sit down was to promote his new film, the Patricia Arquette-directed Gonzo Girl. But Penn’s internal fire was really raging to throw out opinions on other, more pressing topics like Ukraine (he wants to melt down both of his Oscars to give to Ukraine so they can make bullets and shoot the Russians) and what he would have done differently had he been in charge of the 9/11 response (he would have killed “everyone that did this,” even if he had to go to prison).
But what really grinds his gears is how he’s still, more than a year and a half later, furious at Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards even though—and I’m paraphrasing his words here—he went to jail for doing the same thing.
Important note: They were not the same.
Penn’s ink is uncontrollably exploding over his incessant thoughts about Will Smith, a Black man with a previously unblemished career that spans nearly four decades (and no, Wild Wild West is not a blemish) over an admitted lapse in judgment and character, for which Smith profusely apologized in a video message last year saying how his “behavior was unacceptable” and followed up the acknowledgment of wrongdoing and apology by saying he is “trying to be remorseful without being ashamed of myself.” Some people should learn from that. Smith has since resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and has also been punished by the Academy to the tune of a 10-year ban from the awards, effectively paying his debt to a sensitive society.
Penn admits, “I don’t know Will Smith. I met him once,” and continues: “He seemed very nice when I met him. He was so fucking good in ‘King Richard.’” [...] “So why the fuck did you just spit on yourself and everybody else with this stupid fucking thing? Why did I go to fucking jail for what you just did? And you’re still sitting there? Why are you guys standing and applauding his worst moment as a person?”
If anyone knows about spitting on someone, and about a person’s worst moments, it’s Penn. He’s had a lot of them!
He is angry that despite his hot-headed past, and status as a white male in today’s society, he was made to go to jail for “doing the same thing.” And if you’re wondering what that “same thing” was, that makes two of us, because I have to wonder which of these incidents he’s referring to. Was it the 1985 incident where he attacked two photographers trying to take photos of Madonna as he accompanied her on a walk, or when he was on probation after assaulting famed songwriter David Wolinski in Helena’s nightclub in Los Angeles? Or, more likely, was it the time he spat at and assaulted extra Jeffrey Klein on the set of his film Colors, which saw him sentenced to 60 days in jail—for which he only served 33? But we also can’t forget when he was sentenced to 300 hours of community service in 2010 for attacking another photographer.
There are truly too many times to count, and this isn’t even including the incident in which he allegedly beat then-wife Madonna with a baseball bat—serious charges she asked to be dropped because he was already facing the aforementioned 60 days in jail. It also excludes the 1989 incident where Penn allegedly tied Madonna up for hours, after scaling the wall, breaking into her house, and beating her, leaving to go buy booze, and then returning to beat her some more.
The pair have since denied these events ever happened. But Penn’s history of violent behavior is well-documented and undeniable. It would behoove him to stop talking about other people’s pasts, because his own rap sheet is murkier than a mystic river.