Sean Penn spoke to Charlie Rose last night for an interview that will air more extensively on 60 Minutes and on Charlie’s show on PBS. A preview of the discussion was featured today on CBS This Morning. This, of course, is about El Chapo and the article Sean wrote for Rolling Stone about their meeting – click here for my post earlier this week about the situation.
Charlie asked Sean about the reports that his meeting with El Chapo resulted in his eventual arrest. Sean insists that the two events are not linked.
"There is this myth about the visit that we made, my colleagues and I with El Chapo, that it was -- as the Attorney General of Mexico is quoted -- 'essential' to his capture," Penn said. "We had met with him many weeks earlier...on October 2nd, in a place nowhere near where he was captured."
"So as far as, you know, you had nothing to do and your visit had nothing to do with his recapture?" Rose asked.
"Here's the things that we know: We know that the Mexican government ... they were clearly very humiliated by the notion that someone found him before they did," Penn said. "Well, nobody found him before they did. We didn't -- we're not smarter than the DEA or the Mexican intelligence. We had a contact upon which we were able to facilitate an invitation."
Sean also continues to insist that he was meeting with El Chapo for only one motivation: to “begin a conversation about the policy of the war on drugs”. And he goes on to say that El Chapo isn’t solely to blame for America’s drug problem.
"We're going to put all our focus -- forget about blame -- we're going to put all our focus, all our energy, all our billions of dollars on the 'bad guy,' and what happens? You get another death the next day the same way," Penn added.
"Do you make a moral equivalency between El Chapo and people who either buy or sell drugs in America?" Rose asked.
"I do, if it's me," Penn said. "I don't make that judgment for everyone else. But I wouldn't go so far as to buy or sell drugs."
"So he's no better than you or no worse than you," Rose said.
"I can't make him worse than me if I'm not out there doing everything that I can to get a conversation going on the way in which we prosecute that war," Penn said.
Later on, he adds, interestingly, that:
"Let's go to the big picture of what we all want. We all want this drug problem to stop. We all want them -- the killings in Chicago to stop," Penn added. "We are the consumer. Whether you agree with Sean Penn or not, there is a complicity there. And if you are in the moral right, or on the far left, just as many of your children are doing these drugs ... And how much time have they spent in the last week since this article come [sic] out, talking about that? One percent? I think that'd be generous."
Why is that interesting? Well, how much cocaine is consumed in Hollywood? By how many of his peers?
Whatever his stated purpose, I think we can all agree with Sean when he says that he failed. Twice.
“Let’s be clear. My article failed.”
Because, apparently, everyone was jealous of him.
"When you get the story that every journalist in the world wanted, there's a lot of green-eyed monsters who gonna come give you a kiss.”
So…not because there were no follow-up stories. Not because he turned the piece into a celebrity profile, not because he’s not a great writer, not because he presented us with a subjective assessment of a man who has murdered and corrupted. And definitely not because his ego – and his piss and farts – made an appearance in the article. But because we’re jealous. Which is the most typical and tired celebrity response to criticism.
No, wait. He’s not just a celebrity, OK? He’s also an “experiential journalist”. And he takes exception to the assessment that he wasn’t qualified for the job:
"(I’m) Not without controversy. Fair enough," Penn said. "At the same time, you know, when...'journalists' who want to say that I'm not a journalist -- well, I want to see the license that says that they're a journalist."
And then, like a F-CKING IDIOT, he acknowledges exactly why an actual – and respected – journalist would not have been able to get the interview:
Penn also told Rose he thinks he was able to get access to El Chapo because he's not a traditional journalist, and he doesn't think any traditional journalist would have had success.
Accurate. BECAUSE YOU ARE A CELEBRITY. A MOVIE STAR. And El Chapo knew, therefore, that he would only be held to celebrity/movie star standards and not accountable to the protocol of legitimate investigative journalism.
But sure. You failed because everyone’s just jealous. Click here to read more about Sean Penn’s interview with Charlie Rose.