Sean Penn: I regret my El Chapo interview didn’t spark debate about the war on drugs

posted at 1:21 pm on January 15, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

To paraphrase Frank Sinatra: Regrets … Sean Penn has a few, but then again, not the ones you expect him to mention. CBS News’ Charlie Rose met with the actor-cum-reporter to discuss his hagiographic Rolling Stone interview with Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. “Let me be clear,” Penn tells Rose,”my article has failed.” That failure isn’t on journalism ethics, but on the fact that the debate it produced focused on nothing but Penn’s ethics and motivations:

But his regret is not of glamorizing the world’s most notorious drug trafficker or that he may have aided and abetted a fugitive on the run.

Rather, the actor said he is most disappointed that his article “failed” to create a dialogue about the war on drugs.

“I have a regret that the entire discussion about this article ignores its purpose, which was to try to contribute to this discussion about the policy in the war on drugs,” Penn said in an interview to be aired Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Penn wants to set the record straight on another topic, too, which is whether he dimed out El Chapo to the Mexican authorities. Penn accused Mexico of attempting to set him up to be killed for embarrassing them, and said Guzmán’s capture had nothing to do with his interview. Penn met with El Chapo in an entirely different location, and months earlier:

“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,” he said.

“Well, nobody found him before they did. We didn’t – we’re not smarter than the DEA or the Mexican intelligence,” he added. “We had a contact upon which we were able to facilitate an invitation.”

Penn bluntly tells Rose that he thinks the Mexican government wants to put him in danger as retribution for embarrassing them:

ROSE: Do you believe that the Mexican government released this in part because they wanted to see you blamed, and to put you at risk?

PENN: Yes.

ROSE: They wanted to encourage the cartel to put you in their crosshairs?

PENN: Yes.

ROSE: Are you fearful for your life?

PENN: Yeah.

It’s hard to blame him for fearing for his life now. Whether this is revenge or not by Mexican authorities, the cartel probably would have wondered about it too. But the idea that Penn needed an interview with El Chapo to get a conversation going about the war on drugs is beyond ludicrous. He’s an A-list celebrity with plenty of access to the media. He may not find the conversation going in the direction he’d prefer, but Penn didn’t need to blow smoke up El Chapo’s skirts to begin that conversation. And the naive treatment of his subject and the acquiescence to Guzmán’s demand for editorial control pretty much discredits him as a part of that conversation anyway.

Activists and media organizations like Reason have pushed the conversation about the war on drugs effectively enough to change laws in the US on marijuana, for instance. They didn’t need to paint murderous cartel leaders as misunderstood folk heroes in order to do so. All Penn did was set those efforts back, and put himself in danger unnecessarily.

With all that said, the issues in the Rolling Stone article may have originated with Penn, but the responsibility for its publication rests squarely on Rolling Stone.


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Comments

He was the key to finding this goon…and they know it.

right2bright on January 15, 2016 at 1:24 PM

I regret that you’re still allowed to draw free oxygen Mr. Penn.

Defenestratus on January 15, 2016 at 1:25 PM

Holy Spicoli, Sean’s in danger????

In one regard, it appears his interview with the drug lord and his RS article is important: the drug war has been a failure and it is hard to see how legalizing most drugs could be worse than what we have now.

Nomennovum on January 15, 2016 at 1:28 PM

El Chapo is a nasty mass murderer and painting him as an sort of hero undermines arguments about the War on Drugs. If Sean Penn were serious (and not dumb as rocks), he would interview some non-violent drug offenders sentenced to long jail terms.

Illinidiva on January 15, 2016 at 1:28 PM

I hope that Penn has his life insurance, and final arrangements in order.

Pork-Chop on January 15, 2016 at 1:28 PM

I would not be surprised to learn some day that he works for the CIA.

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 1:29 PM

Did the Mexican government set up Penn as a cartel target?

God I hope so…

Rogue on January 15, 2016 at 1:29 PM

How you like me now, Pac-man?

Flange on January 15, 2016 at 1:29 PM

Seany-boy was confused about the whole deal due to his fogged brain and over inflated ego. He thought he was going to interview Che.

vnvet on January 15, 2016 at 1:31 PM

Dan Haggerty, best known for his role in “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams,” died Friday morning, his close friend and manager told FOX411. He was 74.

http://pagesix.com/2016/01/15/grizzly-adams-star-dies-of-cancer/

IDontCair on January 15, 2016 at 1:32 PM

As much as I dislike him, I don’t want to see him harmed.

bmmg39 on January 15, 2016 at 1:32 PM

Rather, the actor said he is most disappointed that his article “failed” to create a dialogue about the war on drugs.

Is he for or against?

otlset on January 15, 2016 at 1:32 PM

Hope his friends are smart enough to stand far away from him, but I doubt it.

Exninja on January 15, 2016 at 1:32 PM

bmmg39 on January 15, 2016 at 1:32 PM

Me neither. And I do like some of his movies. Mystic River comes to mind.

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 1:33 PM

So proud of Mr Penn for dropping a dime and turning Guzman in. Well done, Sean! The Sinaloa Cartel is majorly disrupted because you were brave enough to work with the government to catch him!!

ramesees on January 15, 2016 at 1:36 PM

Stick with acting, Penn. Movies tend to have happier endings.

31giddyup on January 15, 2016 at 1:37 PM

All Penn did was set those efforts back, and put himself in danger unnecessarily.

Sean Penn never puts himself in danger unnecessarily. There is enormous entertainment value in an endangered Sean Penn. For example, imagine the spectacular success of a Sean Penn Reality Show where each week he swims across piranha-infested streams or wrestles hungry alligators, things like that.

Millions would watch such a show (although they might feel a bit guilty about cheerleading piranha and alligators).

troyriser_gopftw on January 15, 2016 at 1:38 PM

The Sinaloa Cartel is more dangerous than ever since Hustler Eric Holder sold them the AK-47s….

viking01 on January 15, 2016 at 1:39 PM

Spcoli works for the CIA El Chapa*s….

he went deep cover back in ’83 for Nancy Reagan….

“Spicoli this job will be thankless, it may take decades, you will not have support but America NEEDS YOU!”

//Nancy Reagan to Spicoli

harlekwin15 on January 15, 2016 at 1:41 PM

Penn, you might want to re-think melting your guns down too.

31giddyup on January 15, 2016 at 1:42 PM

Sean Penn never puts himself in danger unnecessarily. There is enormous entertainment value in an endangered Sean Penn. For example, imagine the spectacular success of a Sean Penn Reality Show where each week he swims across piranha-infested streams or wrestles hungry alligators, things like that.

Millions would watch such a show (although they might feel a bit guilty about cheerleading piranha and alligators).

troyriser_gopftw on January 15, 2016 at 1:38 PM

Let’s GO BLACK PLAGUE!

clap clap clap-clap-clap

Let’s go LAVA!

harlekwin15 on January 15, 2016 at 1:43 PM

link to information of the fail of the U S Government

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB6m7x3QDAg

APACHEWHOKNOWS on January 15, 2016 at 1:47 PM

Swim with the sharks and…..Well its not hard to know the rest. Also, i doubt he got rid of all his firearems and if he did….enjoy your 10 day California waiting period. Id be checking my mail to see if a dead fish arrives.

jaywemm on January 15, 2016 at 1:47 PM

He’s a good actor, but his politics makes me really, really dislike him.

Nineball on January 15, 2016 at 1:47 PM

I’m sorry Ed, but you misquoted Mr Penn. When asked if he feared for his life, he replies “NO”. For some reason your transcript says that he replied “yes”. This changes the answer, don’t you think?

Yitzchokm on January 15, 2016 at 1:50 PM

Whatcha wanna bet ol’ Seano recently hired a bunch of guys with a bunch of guns?

Koyodiak on January 15, 2016 at 1:50 PM

I suspect Spicoli will develop a sudden interest in having his bodyguards armed again.

HumpBot Salvation on January 15, 2016 at 1:50 PM

Hollywood, liberals, and progressives always glamorize the most vile monsters on the planet. Penn hanging out with Guzman and spinning him as some kind of hero is nothing new.

Rode Werk on January 15, 2016 at 1:51 PM

Penn loves him some people who order hits. I wonder how many murders Guzman and Chavez are responsible for.

antipc on January 15, 2016 at 1:52 PM

He’s an A-list celebrity…

Really?

WisRich on January 15, 2016 at 1:53 PM

Holy Spicoli, Sean’s in danger????

In one regard, it appears his interview with the drug lord and his RS article is important: the drug war has been a failure and it is hard to see how legalizing most drugs could be worse than what we have now.

Nomennovum on January 15, 2016 at 1:28 PM

So, if we legalize “most” drugs, it will put an end to the El Chapos?

If you know anything about illegal drugs, it’s easy to see why legalizing them would be worse than what we have now.

JannyMae on January 15, 2016 at 1:53 PM

ROSE: They wanted to encourage the cartel to put you in their crosshairs?

PENN: Yes.

ROSE: Are you fearful for your life?

PENN: Yeah.

I wonder if Spicoli will be speaking out against gun ownership anytime soon?

The tool would still probably like to disarm America, except for his own personal bodyguard.

If ignorance is bliss, Penn should be over the moon.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 1:55 PM

Penn said Guzmán’s capture had nothing to do with his interview

wink…wink
nudge…nudge

justltl on January 15, 2016 at 1:59 PM

As much as I dislike him, I don’t want to see him harmed.

bmmg39 on January 15, 2016 at 1:32 PM

How about he just gets slapped around a bit and then throwed out in the street?

arnold ziffel on January 15, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Hope his friends are smart enough to stand far away from him, but I doubt it.

Exninja on January 15, 2016 at 1:32 PM

Given who his friends are, that should be put in the “feature” column, not the bug column.

oscarwilde on January 15, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Ot

Hi from Newark airport on to Israel in about an hour

The naked journalist

Walter L. Newton on January 15, 2016 at 2:01 PM

Maybe Madonna will let him out in her….

Sorry, channeling my inner South Park.

Megyn Kellys Lipstick on January 15, 2016 at 2:03 PM

If you know anything about illegal drugs, it’s easy to see why legalizing them would be worse than what we have now.

JannyMae on January 15, 2016 at 1:53 PM

You convinced me. I’m too stupid to understand anything about illegal drugs.

Nomennovum on January 15, 2016 at 2:06 PM

It’s hard to blame him for fearing for his life now

Lie down with dogs…

Maybe if he stuck to acting instead of trying to act like a reporter. Seriously, did the possible repercussions from this not occur to this idiot? Does he know anything about how El Chapo’s people work?

ghostwalker1 on January 15, 2016 at 2:08 PM

How about he just gets slapped around a bit and then throwed out in the street?

arnold ziffel on January 15, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Yeah I’m ok with that….

Hank_Scorpio on January 15, 2016 at 2:14 PM

I wonder if Spicoli will be speaking out against gun ownership anytime soon?

The tool would still probably like to disarm America, except for his own personal bodyguard.

If ignorance is bliss, Penn should be over the moon.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 1:55 PM

He’s making his statement about guns too.

31giddyup on January 15, 2016 at 2:15 PM

ROSE: Do you believe that the Mexican government released this in part because they wanted to see you blamed, and to put you at risk?

PENN: Yes.

ROSE: They wanted to encourage the cartel to put you in their crosshairs?

PENN: Yes.

ROSE: Are you fearful for your life?

PENN: Yeah.

And you didn’t think about that beforehand? It might be time to start planning your funeral…

Mr. Bultitude on January 15, 2016 at 2:15 PM

He’s really not that bright, just obnoxious. Apparently that’s what passes for smart power in leftist circles….

Hank_Scorpio on January 15, 2016 at 2:16 PM

Here’s El Chapo on drugs:

Well, it’s a reality that drugs destroy. Unfortunately, as I said, where I grew up there was no other way and there still isn’t a way to survive, no way to work in our economy to be able to make a living.

Sean Penn didn’t reopen any conversation on drugs, any more than Hillary has reopened her conversation with America. Everything which needed to be said had already been said. Those who sell the drugs want to become wealthy; they will attempt to excuse themselves with a “devil made me do it” (or worse, “God made me do it”) utterance, but the reality is that they are amoral and they want to profit off of the misery of others.

As for Penn himself, he did indeed lead the authorities to El Chapo — probably not willingly, but he did. And I still say that

If you lie down with jackels, you are liable not to get up.

unclesmrgol on January 15, 2016 at 2:17 PM

From the guns to sculpture article:

“Being provoked by this aforementioned strong woman and considering how liberating of bulls**t and ugliness it would be not only get rid of the guns I have in the continental United States but also to destroy them, Jeff Koons and I had a chat the other day,” Penn said. “The highest bidder gets every single one of my guns put in the hands of this iconic artist and sculptor…Koons will decommission [and] render inactive all of my cowardly killing machines.
Machines are cowardly… who knew?

31giddyup on January 15, 2016 at 2:24 PM

ROSE: Are you fearful for your life?

PENN: Yeah

Too bad you melted down your guns so you could get a little…

Skywise on January 15, 2016 at 2:25 PM

He’s a good actor, but his politics makes me really, really dislike him.
Nineball on January 15, 2016 at 1:47 PM

No…

No he’s not a good actor. Regardless of the role he’s always “Sean Penn” not the character he’s trying to convey.

Skywise on January 15, 2016 at 2:28 PM

Since he’s so anti-gun I guess he will use his words to provide protection in case the bad guys try to kill him?

katiejane on January 15, 2016 at 2:32 PM

He’s an A-1 Scum Bag.

And El Chapstick is no slouch either.

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on January 15, 2016 at 2:33 PM

Satan called, he wants his look back.

Oil Can on January 15, 2016 at 2:49 PM

I can’t thank Penn enough for volunteering for “martyr” status…

Pendejo…..lol…

Tim Zank on January 15, 2016 at 2:50 PM

I regret this didn’t spur discussion on the exploitation of the mentally disabled in Hollywood.

Xasprtr on January 15, 2016 at 2:51 PM

As much as I dislike him, I don’t want to see him harmed.

bmmg39 on January 15, 2016 at 1:32 PM

How about he just gets slapped around a bit and then throwed out in the street?

arnold ziffel on January 15, 2016 at 2:00 PM

It would be really sweet if he has become uninsurable for movie productions- to the extent that any production he was in became entirely uninsurable would be beyond sweet.

M240H on January 15, 2016 at 2:54 PM

..he’s so-o-o-o-o-o-o wasted!

The War Planner on January 15, 2016 at 3:01 PM

From the guns to sculpture article:

“Being provoked by this aforementioned strong woman and considering how liberating of bulls**t and ugliness it would be not only get rid of the guns I have in the continental United States but also to destroy them, Jeff Koons and I had a chat the other day,” Penn said. “The highest bidder gets every single one of my guns put in the hands of this iconic artist and sculptor…Koons will decommission [and] render inactive all of my cowardly killing machines.”
Machines are cowardly… who knew?

31giddyup on January 15, 2016 at 2:24 PM

Does he actually want to liberate bullshit and ugliness, ’cause that’s what he actually said. I think he meant be liberated from bullshit and ugliness, though. Poor Spicoli never did have that good of a grasp on the language.

To be liberated from his own bullshit and ugliness, though, would require Penn to undergo a multitude of surgeries so dramatic that even the esteemed Ben Carson couldn’t accomplish them in a lifetime.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 3:02 PM

“I regret that all of you people fail to recognize my incisive journalistic genius and general awesomeness.”

Yeah, Sean; I imagine that people failing to see anything awesome in you happens a lot.

orangemtl on January 15, 2016 at 3:07 PM

Since he’s so anti-gun I guess he will use his words to provide protection in case the bad guys try to kill him?

katiejane on January 15, 2016 at 2:32 PM

I hear he constantly drinks water and practices sticking his finger down his throat so he can be prepared to pee and vomit on any attacker.

darwin on January 15, 2016 at 3:10 PM

Penn is so ideological with his haves/have-nots oppressors/oppressed it warps his judgment.

LashRambo on January 15, 2016 at 3:16 PM

No he’s not a good actor. Regardless of the role he’s always “Sean Penn” not the character he’s trying to convey.

Skywise on January 15, 2016 at 2:28 PM

He was pretty good as the shyster Jewish lawyer in “Carlito’s Way”, a personal favorite.

LashRambo on January 15, 2016 at 3:19 PM

It’s liberal idiots like Penn, who seen the effects of drug control, but refuse to equate it to gun control. We have a War on Drugs. Can someone tell me how gun control won’t cause a War on Drugs? People who want drugs get drugs. People who want guns will get guns.

djaymick on January 15, 2016 at 3:29 PM

He is going to change his name to protect himself to:

Shawn Penn

SpongePuppy on January 15, 2016 at 3:40 PM

I regret that sean penn was ever born. His mom must not be liberal enough to have aborted him. He must hate his mother for that.

Andy__B on January 15, 2016 at 3:41 PM

I don’t think he’s A-list. His best role was Spicoli, and anyone can play that after smoking weed.

Misha on January 15, 2016 at 4:00 PM

The Cartel takes its time,no hurry,it may take time for el chapo to lose his mind in the cell but when he does and the hit is ordered
It’s over for sean,I’m betting he disappears never to be seen again unless he lands right next to Osama bin Laden

IXXINY on January 15, 2016 at 4:05 PM

If I were Mr Penn I’d be asking myself Why the majority of Americans are rooting for the Cartel to take him out ?

IXXINY on January 15, 2016 at 4:08 PM

I would not be surprised to learn some day that he works for the CIA.

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 1:29 PM

If it was good enough for Philip Agee and Aldrich Ames…

ebrown2 on January 15, 2016 at 4:22 PM

Guessing Cartel upset with gringo Penn…anybody heard from the Mexican actress who helped Penn since the arrest?

#WatchYourBack #WatchYourFront #Don’tSleepWellAtNight

albill on January 15, 2016 at 4:26 PM

Twitter has banned all Sean Penn is dead tweets whether they are true or false,now and in the future

IXXINY on January 15, 2016 at 4:32 PM

As much as I dislike him, I don’t want to see him harmed.

bmmg39 on January 15, 2016 at 1:32 PM

I wish nothing beyond what has happened to the victims of thos he enables.

IDontCair on January 15, 2016 at 4:33 PM

What’s taking the Cartel soooooo loooooooong,get it over with all ready

IXXINY on January 15, 2016 at 4:34 PM

Snitches get stitches

gxbhkt on January 15, 2016 at 4:48 PM

Sean Penn to donate el chapo reward many to Haiti Relief foundation

IXXINY on January 15, 2016 at 4:49 PM

Sean Penn to donate el chapo reward many money to Haiti Relief foundation

IXXINY on January 15, 2016 at 4:49 PM

.
You’re just tryin’ to get him snuffed, aren’t ya?

ExpressoBold on January 15, 2016 at 4:58 PM

“Actually,” said Mrs. Lincoln, “my only regret is that the play was interrupted by some gentleman with a gun.”

ricoliv on January 15, 2016 at 5:05 PM

Spoler Alert,We all know how the el chapo movie ends now.

IXXINY on January 15, 2016 at 5:15 PM

I think the last group of people I would want after me is the Mexican cartel. Mafia, ISIS, al Queda, FBI etc would all be much more desirable.

The Notorious G.O.P on January 15, 2016 at 5:58 PM

I think Mr. Penn is just being his normal humble self in claiming he didn’t have any thing to do with bringing El Chapo back to justice. I’m sure he did — and that he personally thought this approach up on his own, and as soon as the interview was over was on the phone to the narcs with details about El Chapo’s hiding place.

In appreciation, it would be a nice gesture to raise funds for a nice vacation for him in some nice place. . . .like Acapulco — or Cancun. Since he likes Mexico so much, I’m sure he would thoroughly enjoy that.

In addition, it’s an extremely safe place, since Mexico has strict laws against anybody other than the police and military having guns.

Narniaman on January 15, 2016 at 6:06 PM

I would not be surprised to learn some day that he works for the CIA.

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 1:29 PM

That’s kind of a reach. The Agency usually prefers that the people they hire are smarter than a couple of rocks.

Solaratov on January 15, 2016 at 6:57 PM

I would not want to be Sean Penn right now,yours truly Charlie Sheen.

IXXINY on January 15, 2016 at 8:29 PM

Yeah, it’s too bad that Penn tipped off the Mexican government about Guzman’s whereabouts. I sure hope he’s taking the proper precautions.

Sean, let me remind you of your position against gun ownership – so I hope your new bodyguards aren’t armed. That would be wrong.

Hill60 on January 15, 2016 at 8:37 PM

Oboma sent Sean Penn a surplus Humvee.

IXXINY on January 15, 2016 at 8:45 PM

Commie sympathizer…

He shouldn’t have set up the hard working Mexican drug lord. I would think someone would really want revenge. Watch your back Dude!

trs on January 16, 2016 at 7:49 AM