Newsbusters brings us this moment of thin-skinnedness from one of Hollywood’s leading lights on the First Amendment. At least Sean Penn didn’t demand that the police cart Washington Examiner reporter Tara Palmeri off to jail, like he suggested to Bill Maher last week for those who committed the heinous crime of calling tinpot dictator-wannabe Hugo Chavez a … tinpot dictator wanna-be. Penn also managed to keep his cool, also not exactly in keeping with his reputation. The organizer of the event, though, wasn’t as sharp:
When the Yeas & Nays reporter asked, “How have you seen your critics change since you mentioned that they should die of rectal cancer?” publicity coordinator C.J. Jordan interrupted to say the reporter was only allowed to talk about the Haitian benefit.
“You know, I think that you are investing in a culture that I am not interested in. And you should go your way,” Penn said to the reporter, when she said her question was related to his involvement in Haiti.
Jordan ended the interview, and publicly scolded the reporter outside of the media room. Jordan told the reporter that to keep her job, she needed to write a letter of apology to the Haitian ambassador. The publicity coordinator then threatened to have the reporter escorted out of the building by the police.
“You desecrated this sacred place,” Jordan said.
The congregation’s Rabbi Bruce Lustig attempted to take the reporter’s recording device and delete the material. The reporter was approached by police and threatened to be escorted out, even though she responded calmly and exited quickly.
Desecration? When one invites controversial celebrities who demand jail time for people speaking their opinions and wishing rectal cancer on his critics, having a reporter asking questions is the least of the problem in desecrated sacred places. If Jordan and Lustig can’t handle a free and independent press, then perhaps they both should stay out of public relations.