Yesterday I posed the question as to what exactly gorgeous model Petra Nemcova, 32, had in common with her on-again crusty sourpuss lover, Sean Penn, 51. A commenter named K schooled me that they “share a common passion for charity work,” which is true and could partially explain it. The general consensus was that Penn has charisma and is good in bed, however.
As for shared interests, here are both Petra and Sean at a photocall in Cannes for a new fundraising event this year, co-hosted by Georgio Armani and Penn, called Haiti Carnaval. Proceeds will go to three charities founded by Penn, Nemcova, and director Paul Haggis: Penn’s The J/P Haitian Relief Organization, Nemcova’s Happy Hearts Fund and Haggis’ Artists for Peace and Justice, which was on the ground in Haiti prior to the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Penn was on the Cannes jury last year, and his influence was undoubtedly instrumental in help making this new fundraiser happen. Like most of Sean’s endeavors, a press conference held today for the event didn’t go off without a hitch. Sean used the F word while describing his frustration at the lack of continued support for Haiti. He has previously called other relief workers dispassionate, and has of course publicly bitched about many other things. It’s not new from him, nor is it particularly shocking. He deserves so much credit for his charity work, but he seems to think other people deserve blame.
Sean Penn accused the media of abandoning Haiti on Friday during a news conference for a benefit for the impoverished country.
“It’s not only celebrities who went for a day,” he said to a room full of journalists at the Cannes film festival. “It’s the whole f#$*ing world. It’s all of you.”
He added, “The reason we have Haiti fatigue is because there was never a commitment in the first place.”
The activist-actor, who spends much of his time in Haiti, said the country finally had a chance to reestablish itself after decades of turmoil. He said that because of the commitment among young people, “You see the very tangible success story that Haiti can be.”
Penn was at a news conference with Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova and film director Paul Haggis, each of whom have non-profit organizations working in Haiti. They are joining forces with the Cannes Film Festival at a benefit for Haiti on Friday night.
I get it. He’s seen things we can’t imagine while we’re sitting on our comfortable couches enjoying his movies on demand and stuffing our faces. He’s experienced countless frustrating circumstances trying to get basic supplies to people in dire need while he’s been working on the ground for months. Would it kill him to frame it in a less accusatory way, though? It’s not like people don’t care.
I was looking over Petra’s website for Happy Hearts Fund, and she has a video in which she says essentially the same thing as Penn – but in a more compassionate, compelling way. As you probably know, Petra survived the 2004 tsunami that claimed the life of her fiance, whom she was vacationing with at the time. Her charity work comes from a very genuine and personal place. In the video I mentioned, she said she has “in her heart a thought. ‘What would it be like if I was forgotten after a natural disaster?’ That’s what it’s like each time after a natural disaster, there’s an incredible outpouring of support… and when the first responders leave the world’s attention is turned to other issues. And then a gap happens, a gap which takes up to 10 years when children and entire communities are forgotten. During that gap period, children are skipped from education, sometimes an entire generation… that leads to extreme poverty. That’s what we are focusing on.”
That to me, is way more convincing and makes me want to donate more than hearing that I suck for abandoning a cause. It makes me think of the little kids who are suffering and how I can help make a difference. It’s not as easy to filter down into a quote, though. Maybe Petra is really good for Sean. Maybe she’ll help him realize why he’s doing charity work, and what he should focus on.
Here they are at the photo op today. I think Petra looks amazing in that lovely blue faux wraparound dress. I would love to own that, it looks like it would flatter non-model types. Her hair looks great too. Sean looks really greasy and smarmy. The stache needs to go.
Oh and Paul Haggis is here. It just came out that he’s divorcing his wife, although they seem to have split up a couple of years ago. I wonder if it had anything to do with Scientology, which he denounced in late 2009.
The other woman shown is Roberta Armani. It looks like Petra and Sean deliberately avoided posing together.
Photo credit: WENN.com