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Sean Penn on Milk, Prop 8, and Homophobia in Hollywood

Penn

Sean Penn spoke to the L.A. Times' The Envelope following the New York Critics Circle Awards, at which he won Best Actor for his performance as Harvey Milk.

Penn speaks to Tom O'Neill and Scott Feinberg about Proposition 8, gay rights, and homophobia in Hollywood, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Teach US, SEAN! TEACH US! And while you're at it, could you punch the camera or slap the mic out the interviewer's hand?

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 15, 2009 6:34:30 PM


  2. I wonder when Mickey Rourke is going to come out with a statement saying that Proposition 8 was a fiasco, that the Mormon's should be ashamed of themselves and the black voters who supported Prop 8 should be ashamed of themselves? Oh, wait...he doesn't need to say those things because according to Rourke, Senn Penn is the most homophobic man in Hollywood. As evidenced by the clip Andy has posted.

    Sean Penn rules!

    And TANK...Sean Penn has been a pretty vocal supporter of our community. Yes, he made mistakes when he was younger, but it seems to me that he has more than made up for it with his attempts to better society through his political activism. Which brings me to the following question, TANK, what have you done to try to improve the world?

    Posted by: peterparker | Jan 15, 2009 6:44:15 PM


  3. Oops...that should have been Mormons, not Mormon's.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jan 15, 2009 6:46:15 PM


  4. What have I done to better this world? Why...I went to see MILK twice! And, I wrote sean a really cool fan letter telling him how awesome he is and that he should write a book of poetry...I'd buy it! And by doing that, this whole wide world be made whole...celestial choirs will be singing, and everyone will KNOW THAT WE DID THE RIGHT THING.

    Sorry I criticized your precious celebrity fantasies...sean's a god. Worship him.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 15, 2009 7:07:11 PM


  5. Jeez, Tank, having a bad day or something? I'm not a huge fan of Sean Penn, and he's certainly been a pompous ass at times, but here he just patiently and intelligently answered some of the most long-winded questions I've ever heard.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 15, 2009 7:26:39 PM


  6. "All equal rights fronts" HUH? Who else is being discriminated against with sanction of the law? Jews? Blacks? Chinese? Children? Men? Women? Mormons? Jains? None of them are discriminated against with sanction of the law. Only Gay Americans suffer unequal treatment under the law (DOMA, DADT to name but two on the Federal level).

    I'm all in love with Sean like the rest of yous guys and enjoyed him in MILK, but that statement really threw me.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Jan 15, 2009 7:27:32 PM


  7. Penn gave some pretty straight forward responses to what was asked. & his performance was stellar!

    Homophobia exist - on some level, cuz gays only rally and become vocal in rare instances. And then regress back to their own existence. Gay solidarity is not as common as it should be.

    Hows bout being gay everyday? hows bout having the responsibility and accountability for voicing objections to wrong doings EVERY DAY!

    xo
    Rants, Thoughts & Merde
    http://rantsthoughtsmerde.blogspot.com

    Posted by: NativeNYker | Jan 15, 2009 7:33:50 PM


  8. He's a remarkably articulate man--definitely a contrast with Mickey Rourke, 'tis true. And yes, people have beat him up for expressing support for this or that left-wing leader even if they were anti-gay, which is fair. However, I think not only of his brilliant work in "Milk"--which deserves all the plaudits--but also him helping get people to safety in the middle of a flooded New Orleans. That's class.

    Posted by: Dback | Jan 15, 2009 7:43:01 PM


  9. Plus, he's still fucking hot. Did you see that shirtless scene in "Milk"?!?

    Posted by: freddy | Jan 15, 2009 7:54:00 PM


  10. Sad. When we look to a real gay leader...instead of a pampered lib-lab Hollywood star, no matter how well-intentioned? The likes of Harvey Milk are needed now more than ever.

    Posted by: jj | Jan 15, 2009 7:58:08 PM


  11. Re tank's comments, -- nay, wisecracks. honey, you just continue worshipping your own clever words and continue to assume that the rest of us are in awe of your "wit."

    Not only has Sean become a better, more thoughtful, mature man [perhaps partially through his brilliant representation of Harvey Milk, another great man you'd probably like to mock, tank], he even managed to escape the dread Madonna.

    Posted by: Jim | Jan 15, 2009 8:08:00 PM


  12. Sean Penn tells truth to power.
    He also stands firm and doesn't back down.
    He has my utmost respect - and gratitude.

    Posted by: hephaestion | Jan 15, 2009 8:28:54 PM


  13. Ladies, please...compose yourselves. I know you've got a wittle straight crush, but he's just an actor...and a self righteous one at that.

    Jimmy, are you comparing harvey milk's greatness and legacy to sean penn's? A pioneering civil rights leader to an actor who did a good job of portraying him? Penn wouldn't even do that...I hope. Meh, the madonna comment says it all about you, "HONEY"

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 15, 2009 8:31:35 PM


  14. TANK may not be the most diplomatic, but he is right. Sean Penn isn't the Moses the gay community is looking for. And why ask him about these issues? What's he gonna do? And as for the guy speaking about gay Americans being discriminated against instead of the other "groups"...lest you forget, gays are Jews, Blacks, Chinese, Children, Men, Women, Mormons, and Jains. Not just the white men in the magazines and the straight ones that portray them.

    Posted by: Brandon | Jan 15, 2009 9:16:35 PM


  15. Sargon Bighorn,

    Other oppressed groups face institutional discrimination. Laws may not directly name them, but people of color still face brutal discrimination under the color of the law.

    What do you call the shooting of Oscar Grant? Had a video camera not been there, the cop in question would not be facing murder charges.

    What about the Bush Administration trying to repress voting rights through the corrupt Department of Justice?

    What about Native Americans who have faced genocide and disenfranchisement for hundreds of years? Have you read about life on many reservations where this no running water?

    What about women who are still paid less than men?

    Different elements of our society are oppressed. Some worse than others.

    Posted by: noah | Jan 15, 2009 10:14:18 PM


  16. Leave it to the gays to bicker over a celebrity

    Posted by: zeke star | Jan 15, 2009 10:22:04 PM


  17. Brandon got my point, while poor Noah totally missed the point. Institutional "isms" are weakness of the heart and they will happen forever and ever, as long as Men are taught to hate. I am speaking of what is written in the law books Noah, please pay attention here Sugar. I call Bull shit on "Institutional isms" as those groups can take their case to a court of law. When you have a Lesbian being fired because of who she loves, there is NO Federal and in most cases no State recourse under law. Now come here Noah and place your sweet face between my big ample female breasts and let me give you a hug. Smooch.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Jan 15, 2009 10:25:41 PM


  18. Also, who was that interviewing him? That guy was worthless. Seriously, this kid (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW5X1eaozxQ) asked more straight forward questions.

    Posted by: Alex | Jan 15, 2009 11:05:42 PM


  19. Tank you are living proof that some gays are real JackAsses.I guess reality hasnt been very good to you,welcome to the real world my dear.Sucks to be you.

    Posted by: DJ | Jan 16, 2009 12:32:06 AM


  20. Your comment PETERPARKER, feeds into the unfair assertion that black voters in California single-handedly pushed Prop 8 through to victory when in reality that population had very little to do with the measure's success in any way that wasn't superficial.

    I'm not directly or indirectly calling you racist, just a side comment that the amount of racism present in the gay community makes me really reluctant to put any energy into supporting them.

    I'm not going to fight to end the marginalization of one group while at the same time being marginalized and worse by said group.

    Posted by: Jon | Jan 16, 2009 3:27:00 AM


  21. Right! We have the respect of Sean Penn. Do we have the respect of Hugo Chavez too?

    Posted by: jayshay | Jan 16, 2009 7:40:24 AM


  22. @Jon
    The right- wingers have but a lot of misinformation (lies) out there to stoke up hatred between the two communities. It’s their divide and conquer plan. The Gay community I belong to includes everyone and nothing is going to change that. My friends who belong in both communities have really been having a rough time with this. There’s a big wall of hate out there that needs to be torn down. I, and many others, in both communities know that it’s going to be hard work tearing that wall down one brick at a time and we need all the help we can get. I hope you will join us.
    Your art work is very good and I wish you much success with it.
    Peace & ♥

    Posted by: 1♥ | Jan 16, 2009 8:41:13 AM


  23. Actors impersonate other people for a living, reading lines other people have written and making gestures other people have conceived. Acting doesn't preclude being intelligent or knowledgeable, but it requires neither. Given that it's also the province of the improbably beautiful, it's hardly reasonable to fault actors for being vapid and ignorant.

    If you expect Mr. Penn to have trenchant, enlightening insights into LGBT history and politics because he has portrayed someone who did, it's your expectations that are at fault, along with the media pundefacators who compulsively interview people on subjects they aren't qualified to discuss.

    Confusing opinion with knowledge, talent with intelligence, celebrity with acumen, and good will with achievement isn't Mr. Penn's problem - it's ours. It's not his problem that he has nothing to say - it's ours, for listening.

    To consider an entertainer's views more or less relevant than any other ill-informed slob's is to mistake style for content - a particularly gay failing. We are forever trying to cure brain cancer by changing our hairstyles.

    Posted by: Bryan | Jan 16, 2009 1:08:44 PM


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