Hey Sean, Put Down Your Pen

Adoration of Cuban dictator is misguided, dangerous
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2009 10:36 AM CST
Sean Penn speaks on stage during the 18th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on December 2, 2008 in New York City.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Sean Penn may be “the finest character actor around,” but he's “no journalist,” writes Roger Cohen in the New York Times. Penn’s recent “fawning tributes” to Cuban president Raúl Castro show the actor has “delusional, dangerous” beliefs about the dictator—a fact that “Penn as Harvey Milk gets,” while “Penn the foreign correspondent flails.”

It’s hard to believe Penn, who gave a “breathtaking, powerful” performance as gay rights activist Milk, would be taken in by “a dictator presiding over a 50-year-old revolution that once dispatched gays to labor camps to correct their ‘counterrevolutionary tendencies.’” The actor doesn’t seem to grasp that Milk “is precisely about the sort of grass-roots political movement that would be impossible in the Cuba of the Castro brothers.”