sean penn me too


Twitter doesn’t want to hear Sean Penn’s opinion on #MeToo

His comments don't make sense.


Audra Schroeder


Posted on Sep 17, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 6:20 am CDT

Just a week after Norm Macdonald walked back his tone-deaf comments on #MeToo, Sean Penn has stepped in to offer his own bad take—but people on Twitter don’t care to hear it.

Penn, who is promoting new Hulu series The First, appeared on NBC’s Today on Monday with co-star Natascha McElhone. Interviewer Natalie Morales commented on the “strong women” in the cast and the “visionary” that McElhone plays, then asked her if the #MeToo movement has “informed” the series at all. The actor pointed out that there are women in power in real life, but those depictions are more common on screen now.

Asked his thoughts, Penn said he didn’t think #MeToo had informed the show that much and that the movement was “largely shouldered by a kind of receptacle of the salacious.” Asked what the heck that meant, he, unfortunately, continued: “I don’t want it to be a trend, and I’m very suspicious of a movement that gets glommed onto, in great stridency and rage, and without nuance. Even when people try to discuss it in a nuanced way, the nuance itself is attacked.” He added that “the spirit of much of what has been the #MeToo movement is to divide men and women.”

McElhone added that they did talk about this issue on set “a great deal.” She also attempted some clarification.

“I think what Sean was maybe alluding to is this sort of bubble of actors or people who are in magazines that have gotten a lot of attention from this,” she said. “Of course it’s terrific that they’ve put a spotlight on it. But now, we need to go to the places where this is happening behind closed doors, and it’s not exposed, and those voices aren’t being heard.”

People on Twitter criticized Penn’s comments—and NBC for giving him the platform to discuss #MeToo.

Plenty of people also brought up Penn’s alleged history of abuse. His ex-wife Madonna denied rumors of physical abuse during their marriage in 2015 court documents, which were part of a lawsuit Penn filed against Lee Daniels for comments the Empire co-creator made about Penn’s history of abuse.

A more recent text—Penn’s novel Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff—offers context for his bad take. It includes a poem about #MeToo, which laments the accusations against Louis C.K. and Charlie Rose, and asks: “And what’s with this ‘Me Too’?/This infantilizing term of the day.”

H/T Variety 

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*First Published: Sep 17, 2018, 3:14 pm CDT