Sean Penn is on the ground in Ukraine, making a documentary about the invasion

If you were anything like me, you spent Thursday in a haze of media updates about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The videos and stories are horrific, and I have nothing but sympathy and heartbreak for the Ukrainian people. Just know that various Americans will always make it all about us though. Take, for example, Sean Penn. Sean Penn is an Oscar-winning actor and a director of films no one wants to watch. He’s also a self-styled humanitarian and International Hamface Extraordinaire. Honestly, I have no idea what to call him. Penn is in Ukraine right now, filming a documentary about what’s happening on the ground as Russia invades.

Sean Penn is on the ground in Ukraine filming a documentary about Russia’s invasion, Vice Studios confirmed. The Oscar-winning actor appeared at a press briefing Thursday in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv listening to government officials speak about the crisis.

Penn last visited Ukraine in November 2021 and started preparing for his documentary by visiting with the country’s military. Photos of Penn’s November trip were released at the time by the Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation Press Service.

“Penn has visited the Office of the President and spoken with deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk, as well as local journalists and members of the Ukrainian military” since arriving in Ukraine this week, wrote Newsweek. The Office of the President issued a statement through the Ukrainian embassy praising the Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker.

“The director specially came to Kyiv to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country,” the statement’s translation reads. ‘Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine today. Our country is grateful to him for such a show of courage and honesty.”

The statement adds, “Sean Penn is demonstrating bravery that many others have been lacking, in particular some Western politicians. The more people like that — true friends of Ukraine, who support the fight for freedom — the quicker we can stop this heinous invasion by Russia.”

[From Variety]

It’s not that I believe Sean Penn is important enough to make a difference in the Russian invasion either way. I just think it’s the height of arrogance for an American actor to throw himself into a literal war for no reason other than HE wants to be the story, and he wants people to know that HE is making a documentary. People were yelling at me, saying that President Zelensky wants more attention on Ukraine, he wants more people to come in and document what’s happening. I get that. But… maybe not Sean Penn?

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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28 Responses to “Sean Penn is on the ground in Ukraine, making a documentary about the invasion”

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  1. K says:

    God help Ukraine. I fear for them and quite frankly the rest of Europe. can’t stand Penn (Jesus that press conference get up and shades). However if he manages to bring more attention to this horrible insane war I suppose he has served a purpose.

    • Bettyrose says:

      That’s where I fall on this too. No amount of global disappointment will change Putin’s mind. But global reaction needs to be unified.

    • Mac says:

      I think the dozens of news bureaus in Ukraine will effectively document the war.

    • Fabiola says:

      I’m not sure why the writer is hating on Sean Penn for bringing attention to the invasion of Ukraine. At least he is doing something. Who cares if he is an American actor. I wish more people would help Ukraine. Any amount of help is needed.

    • Moxylady says:

      I think he’s in for a surprise how little
      People in an active war zone/ invasion are going to care about who he is.
      I think he’s probably gonna die. But he is bringing attention to an atrocity so good for him?

      • bettyrose says:

        I think he’s probably gonna die.

        @Moxylady – Yeah, that is a potential outcome. I’m certainly not wishing for it. I have completely neutral feelings toward him, but yeah a war zone is a very dangerous place. A girl in college was bragging about going to a country to detonate land mines (perhaps inspired by Diana. It was around that time) and I don’t know if it ever happened, but that’s not really something for volunteers with no specialized training? There were some eye rolls about it at the time. I remember because at first I was envious of her nerve, and then someone pointed out to me it’s really not brave to be stupid and in the way.

  2. Noki says:

    I honestly cant find fault in this, its not like he started today for attention. He has always gone into conflict or ravaged zones to shed light,so its not a gimmick.

    • Cherry says:

      Agreed. I mean, I dislike Sean Penn just as much as anyone else, and I seriously doubt he’s ‘a true friend of Ukraine, who support the fight for freedom’. Sure, he’s there partly for selfish reasons, to promote himself and play the hero.
      And so what? We all have our motives. Sean Penn could easily have stayed home in his multimillion dollar mansion and watch all of this from his tv. Instead, he’s actually doing something. I have no problem with that. If him being there leads to more attention on Ukraine and the horrible situation the Ukranians find themselves in, the better.

    • superashes says:

      Me either, this is just part of who he is and something he has done repeatedly. I can’t stand this type of gatekeeping that just distracts from the main issue at hand, which is the crisis in Ukraine itself, not who is reporting on it.

  3. KLO says:

    Good for him. I hope he gets out alive and manages to finish his work.

    BTW his father is ethnically a Lithuanian jew. Lithuanian history is very similar to Ukraine in dealings with Russia, so I see why S.P. would want to go there and work on this subject.

    And if someone says that he`s not good enough – well, where are all the others? I don´t know, George Clooney? Or who the political activists are these days in Hollywood.

    I know about Sean Penn`s history but Ukraine needs all the help it can get right now.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      That’s very interesting about his father, thank you for that info!!
      Makes sense that is why SP is involved, as it’s personal for him.

    • Mac says:

      Ukraine’s history with Russian is very different from Lithuania. Stalin starved 3.9 million Ukrainians to death to stop their independence movement in the early 1930s.

      • KLO says:

        All of the former eastern bloc countries know and recognize what the others have gone through. Similarities are vast. You must not know much about the bullshit soviets (cough cough russian ’empire’) have put us all through or you yourself are a simple russian troll. Greetings from Estonia btw.

  4. WiththeAmerican says:

    Where’s his mask? In Ukraine to film a doc and spread some Covid, because they need that?

    Dubious, but I hope he does some good with his ginormous ego. here’s hoping they have ongoing AA meetings in Ukraine.

  5. LaraW” says:

    Translation of the tweet:

    American actor Sean Penn in Kiev

    The President of Ukraine posted a video without sound on Instragram of his meeting with Sean Penn. It said, “The more people know about the war in Ukraine, the better chance we have of stopping Russia.”

  6. Fernanda says:

    Poor Ukraine. They are desperate for some real military and financial support, but that’s not coming, no matter how many Sean Penns come to film and observe. No government of Europe and not the US one, wants to go directly against Russia. So Ukrainians are left to fend for themselves. Poor Poor people…

    • zinjazin says:

      It is such a sad tragic situation Im in disbelief.

    • Jaded says:

      There’s lots of military and financial support coming — 90 tons of U.S. military aid has arrived in Ukraine; the UK is sending military aid; Canada is offering a $120 million loan and small arms; Germany is sending 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger anti-aircraft defense systems. They’ve also authorized the Netherlands to send 400 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and Estonia is shipping nine howitzers. NATO is deploying thousands of commandos to nations surrounding Ukraine. Russia’s membership in SWIFT will likely be revoked by NATO countries. This will continue to ramp up over the coming weeks and months, the world realizes Putin must be stopped.

      Sean Penn is a minor player in covering the war.

  7. Vilbern says:

    Please spare me. As a Venezuelan, this fool has been nothing but an apologist of authoritarian regimes, and we still remember his tomfoolery with El Chapo. The people from Ukraine deserve better

  8. thaisajs says:

    Just so long as he understands that the US military and security agencies are not going to go into Ukraine to save his butt if he gets injured/attacked. You go film in a war zone, the State Dept. is not gonna bail you out.

    • Nope says:

      I wonder if he does know? It’s certainly on him if he doesn’t. It would also be interesting to know if he has a private extraction team in place. If he’s smart he went with private military contractors, right? He presumably can’t hire anyone with direct access to high-level intelligence but an outfit like Blackwater has both experience and contacts that might leverage a favor or three.

  9. theotherViv says:

    ok, all I got is WTF. they‘ve got bigger fish to fry right now?

  10. Bobbie says:

    Bless his heart. He does take chances.

  11. zinjazin says:

    Good for them I think it is great whatever anyone is doing right now to try to help out Ukraine!
    I wish there was something tangible I could do I think a lot of people feel that way.
    90% of the job is showing up!!
    Go Sean Penn!

    God bless Ukraine and keep us all safe.🙏