Sean Penn Will Not Apologize for His ‘Green Card’ Joke

Sean Penn

Sean Penn has stated that he will not apologize for a remark he made at during last month’s Academy Awards on February 22, about how Birdman director, Alejandro G. Inarritu, managed to get his “green card.” Penn said the comment was meant to be an ironic joke, as the director is a friend of his. Inarritu directed Sean Penn in the movie, 21 Grams, from 2003.

Rather than issue an apology for his remark, Sean Penn said on Saturday at an event in Beverly Hills he was at promoting his upcoming movie, The Gunman, that anybody who did not get the irony in what he said was “stupid,” and he had “a big (expletive} you” for those people. He added that America was a “xenophobic” country.

Sean Penn criticized those people who were “xenophobic.” He said if those people “had their way, you wouldn’t have great filmmakers like Alejandro working in this country.”

The actor, who portrayed Harvey Milk in the film, Milk, admitted that he had not expected that people would react so adversely to what he had considered to be an obvious remark made in jest as he was presenting the director the Academy Award for Best Picture. Sean Penn added that the “flagrant stupidity” of people “always surprised” him, though he keeps on “having more hope.” After the Academy Awards, Inarritu said that he thought the remark that Sean Penn had made was “hilarious.”

Inarritu called the relationship that he had with Sean Penn one in which they joked back and forth, one “where only true friendship can survive.” The director stated that he has made “a lot of very tough jokes” about Sean Penn, but ones that “I will not tell you.”

The director of Birdman, Alejandro G. Inarritu, was born in Mexico. Green cards are given to people from other countries to grant them permanent residency in the United States. Viewers who were watching the Academy Awards and did not know the type of relationship that Sean Penn has with Inarritu possibly believed that Penn’s comments were racist, though he has stated that they were not meant to be taken that way, at all.

Sean Penn said that his “green card” remark was meant as an inside joke with the director of Birdman, Inarritu, who he considers to be a friend. Penn stated that he wanted the director to “be the first person in that room to know that his film won.”

Taken in that particular context, knowing that actor and director Sean Penn meant for his “green card” comment at the Academy Awards to be an ironic joke between good friends, it is perhaps easier to understand why Penn feels that he does not owe anybody an apology. He called the people who did not get it that he was joking “xenophobic,” turning the tables on people who criticized his “inside joke.”

Sean Penn has done a lot of great charity work, including his support of the earthquake victims in Haiti. He organized the J/P Haitian Relief Organization to raise consciousness and money for the Haitian earthquake victims. He is a person who has shown by his actions that he truly cares about other people around the world. Sean Penn might, upon occasion, make a joke that others consider to be offensive, but he does not believe that he owes anybody an apology over his “green card” reference. Please leave any comment below!

Written By Douglas Cobb

Hollywood Reporter
Photo By Brookings Institution – Flickr License

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