Actor Sean Penn spoke with MSNBC and Fox News to discuss what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine and to discuss support for the country.
In February 2022, Russia invades Ukraine. Penn was in the Ukraine shooting a documentary for Vice about the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, and while there, met with President Volodymyr Zelensky. As things began to escalate, Penn had to leave the country and last reported that he was located in Poland.
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This evening, the actor appeared in person on the Sean Hannity show titled “Hannity” to engage in conversation. Hannity started off by mentioning how the two first got in touch.
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“I made the first phone call to you,” Hannity began. “Do you remember what you first said to me?”
“I said ‘I don’t trust you,’” Penn responded. “But we have to get on with life… We all talk about how divisive things are, how divided things are here. When you step into a country of incredible unity, you realize what we’ve all been missing. I don’t think I’ve got time to indulge my lack of trust, which becomes a petty thing. These people are fighting for the dreams and aspirations of all of us Americans.”
Penn elaborates further as he then provides details about the documentary he was working on, and what he saw while in the Ukraine. “In him, I saw something I’d never seen before,” Penn said. “It is clear to me that the Ukrainians will win this. The question is at what cost.”
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Colleagues who traveled to the world's most dangerous places with the late filmmaker tell PEOPLE about his "uncanny" talents for capturing "the beauty and strength in the human spirit"Friends and colleagues of filmmaker and journalist Brent Renaud, whom officials say was killed in a Russian attack on March 13 while covering the war in Ukraine, tell PEOPLE he was a gifted, fearless and sensitive reporter who traveled to some of the world's most dangerous places to find meaningful, untold stories and document the resilience of his subjects.
On MSNBC’s “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” he sings the praises of President Zelensky, and how he is holding everything together, despite the raging war happening on Ukrainian soil.
“[Zelenskyy] is the face of so many Ukrainians. And yet, it’s not conceivable that he could’ve known the day before that he would really be able to rise up,” Penn told O’Donnell. “This is leadership that we aspire to. This is freedom of thought and true leadership that is just so moving. It’s the kind of moving that we need to be able to get [to the United States], which is borderline a kind of populist lap dance of a nation at this point. We’ve got to get back on track together and realize that Ukraine, with all its diversity, has a unity we’ve never seen in modern times with the challenge it has.”
Right before the Academy Awards in March, Penn went on CNN and told news anchor Jim Acosta that if the Oscars did not invite President Zelenskyy to speak he would smelt his Oscars.
“If it turns out to be what is happening, I would encourage everyone involved, though it may be their moment, and I understand that, to celebrate their films, it is so much more importantly their moment to shine, and to protest and to boycott that Academy Awards,” Penn said. “I myself, if it comes back to it, when I return, I will smelt mine in public. I pray that’s not what happens.”
While the Ukrainian President did not speak to the Oscar crowd, he did make an appearance at the Grammys with a pre-taped message.
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