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Sean Penn’s Katrina PR Stunt Springs A Leak

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Sean Penn has shown up in New Orleans to save the day!

Spicoli showed up overnight with a boat to personally go rescue stranded children in New Orleans, but the thing sprung a leak and didn’t get far.

He’s just trying to help out The Children. Why do you hate The Children so much Al? It’s a subtle distinction. It’s not The Children in general that I feel contempt for, but the 45 year old manchild incompetently trying to commandeer our nation’s worst natural disaster for a cheap public relations ploy.

For starters, he’s showing up WAY late to be out on this kind of rescue mission, and has no apparent connection to organized rescue efforts. He just showed up with his entourage and a personal photographer with the apparent intent of just wandering around looking for a good photo op.

Did I mention that he shows up for a rescue mission with a PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHER? Such a person would be not just useless, but obviously a positive hindrance- if your goal was helping out hurricane victims. Of course, if your goal was just to put on an act for the cameras and convince everyone that you’re a HERO, this deal makes more sense.

You can easily imagine the photo that he was hoping for. Imagine Sean Penn standing in a boat with a Jesus look on his face, cradling a freshly rescued dirty, wet and miserable child lovingly in his arms- preferably a brown or black one.

Instead, the boat sprang a leak near immediately, and the image we end up with is Penn with his little red plastic cup frantically trying to bail the water out of his toy boat.

On the plus side, at least no real emergency response crews had to stop their work to go rescue the little boy out playing “hero” in the water.

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  • SparkleFarkle

    What EXACTLY have you done lately to help anyone out?

  • anonymous

    Go to heck with all you conservatives. Sean Penn was just trying to do something, when George Bush wouldn’t. Sean Penn is a hero in my eyes. It is a spirit of service like how Sean Penn’s dad served in the military. The media focuses on celebrity to distract people from real issues like Katrina, Fox News severe conservative bias, Iraq, War Profiteering, murder in Iraq, fake justification for war with Iran, corruption in the Bush Administration and the Repubican party. Be ready for a democratic president next year. But I know you won’t publish this comment.

  • anonymous

    Hello guys. I want, No, I guess I need to tell ya’all about someone I met today. Well, maybe it was yesterday. I really don’t know. In this surreal environment, the images, the fire calls, the rescues, the recoveries, the faces…they are all merging and blurring for me now.
    First I need you to remember that New Orleans is not flooded with water. We are flooded with sewage. Rotting raw waste, oil, gas, rotted food, dead bodies, chemicals God only knows what methyl Ethyl bad stuff is here.
    I was working with a couple of guys a few blocks from the Superdome in a residential neighborhood. We were going from house to house looking for living people, but finding many more dead than alive. We were wading through about three foot of whatever this stuff is that is several feet deep and all through town. A couple of guys in civilian clothes came by with a small fishing boat. We exchanged nods and they started doing the same thing we were. A while later and a few doors down, I noticed one of the guys was escorting a frail elderly man across a yard toward the boat. The mas started to fall and this guy swept him up with so much tenderness it touched my heart. I was pleased to see a volunteer civilian there, and doing that. A few minutes later, the same civilian was escorting a very frail looking women across the same yard. I started that direction to see if there might be more in need. The women slipped and disappeared. This civilian didn’t blink, he dove, yes he dove head first into the sewage/slop whatever and surfaced with a lady in his arms. He tenderly wiped the sludge from her face as he carried her toward the boat. He sat this lady in the boat like you would imagine a new groom setting down his bride. At that point I was along this civilian and reached out to shake his hand, when I recognized him as being Sean Penn. He confirmed his identity and asked me if he was doing alright and asked me to let him know if we needed his help. He said he was going to take this couple to the hospital and would be back soon.
    I looked around to see where the TV cameras were, and there were none. I have read the bad boy negative press about Sean Penn for years, and I guess I had believed it. Almost an hour later Sean was back. In and out of the boat, in and out of yards, in and out of homes,back and forth to the hospital, and I never did see any reporters or cameras. Sean came here, probably without any ones permission from wherever it is that he usually is, and with a determined look upon his face and an even more determined attitude, risking the deadly water snakes infesting this wet stuff all over, wading sometimes neck deep, and doing as much or more than anyone else could do.
    Guys, ya’all have TVs and probably know more about the whole picture here than I do. My guess is that bunches of celebrities have called press conferences and have donated bunches of money to this cause like they always do. Sean Penn, whom I have never had positive feelings for has earned my respect. From my short exchange with him, and from the way he carried himself, I will be floored to hear of him doing any of this for publicity. It was too hands on, tender and determined for that.

  • pobi

    “Robin Wright Penn is making like Tammy Wynette and standing by her man. The actress is irate that husband Sean Penn has become an object of derision for his attempts to rescue stranded people in New Orleans last week. “To them, I say [bleep] you,” she fumed to the New York Daily News at the Toronto Film Festival. “I think it’s [bleeping] pathetic to be belittling him.” Penn, who to his credit went where few politicians dared, has denied reports that he took along a personal photographer and that his boat sprung a leak.”

    This was taken from the “Hot Gossip” by Kat Giantis section of MSN entertainment from 9/13/05.

  • MLI

    Did anyone catch 60 Minutes on Sunday? Very interesting info from the NO Police Superintendent.

  • arj

    Regarding Sean Penn’s rescue trip to New Orleans – below is an excerpt of a newsletter I received today from Vault.com:

    Volunteers Swarm the Gulf Coast

    “USA Freedom Corp., for example, an office of the White House that encourages volunteerism, is urging people not to go to the afflicted area at this time, unless they are affiliated with a professional organization, such as a fire department or relief organization. “If you want to do something now, volunteer in your community,” says Alyssa McClenning, a spokeswoman for the group. “There will be enough time later.”

    “Even some trade groups are preaching caution. The National Association of Realtors has issued a statement on its Web site cautioning its members: “Don’t Travel to the Disaster Sites.” The warning explains that “unauthorized people strain the resources that are needed for the victims of the hurricane. At this time, the most effective way to help is to donate money.” As of yesterday, the group had collected more than $2.3 million and many Realtors had organized efforts to find temporary housing for victims.”

  • arj

    I think Sean Penn has mixed up his art with real life; he is confused. I say Sean should stick with what he knows best – acting. Unfortunately for Sean, the situation in New Orleans is a real life deal, not his area of expertise.

    And P.S. if I were in New Orleans and I needed help, I sure as hell would be ticked off to discover I am being “rescued” by an international celebrity with a writer from the Rolling Stone in tow. I guess Sean means well, but his very presence kinda demeans the severity of the situation. It’s like being in a corporate situation and the boss tries to be personal friends with his direct reports. It’s very awkward and weird and question comes up – what’s his agenda?

  • pobi

    I’m sure good ‘ole Pennster is feeling pretty righteous about what a fine humanitarian he is.

    I’m thinking he has something to prove…like a guy who has to have the “coolest” sports car, he’s compensating for something….I wonder what?

  • So you guys haven’t heard the latest yet, eh? Apparently Penn was travelling with armed bodyguards and was himself carrying a concealed handgun in case he had to shoot any looters or uncooperative rescuees.


  • Dvae

    sean Penn went into a restricted area that the National guard was evacuating. He sunk is boat and then was part of the problem. Why wasn’t he removed from the area before causing more problems? He was spotted walking around with a loaded weapon. why wasn’t he arrested. Oh wait, he said the gun wasn’t loaded. What an idiot!

  • Nick

    I think to point fingers at anyone while the victims of this disaster are still dealing with the trauma of what they have just been through is wrong as it gets. The rapper and his ignorant comments about what is going on and making it about race is a perfect example that if you don’t like the U.S. Mr. I am an African American then move to Africa you sorry excuse for a human. Oh but they will claim to be African Americans but most of them would piss them selves if they were sent back home to Africa. They and we should claim to be American and American only mixing crap up only makes it worse. The people need nothing but positive comments on how they are going to be and are being helped look into what went wrong after the fact NOT NOW. As for Sean Penn, well lets see here I retired after over 21 years of service in the Military and I can tell you I have been to some 3rd world countries I would like to take him to. I could have some fun with this piece of Hollywood garbage. People like him and the others that speak out thinking they are more important than they really are considering most of them are dropouts. And what is there real contribution to our society compared to those of us that work our butts off for nothing close to what they are paid. I like how some celebrities said it was safe and no one was shooting or attacking them, well Sean had on a bulletproof vest. Humm what’s wrong pussy boy I guess your not such a bad-ass after all. Hollywood types like Sean Penus need to know what they are really worth and remember their place in the food chain before they cross a line they cant’ get back from.

  • pobi

    Celebrities need to entertain the public (only on film though), that’s what we pay them to do and keep their politics out of the media spotlight like the rest of us do).

    I wanted to volunteer and I work with the Red Cross. However, their direction was only people with specific/specialized skills (like a dr/rn/vet/etc.) were needed/welcome. Every reputable rescue agency stressed that unskilled people SHOULD NOT COME TO THE AFFECTED AREA unless they were part of a recognized relief agency. These people should STAY HOME and donate. The reason makes sense: untrained people are dangerous to themselves and others. So how come the Pennmeister was able to get there when I went through the routes that people who do this for a living recommended and was turned away? Why couldn’t the Penn Man see the wisdom in the rules? Don’t get me wrong, if he was able to help someone, great, but the cold fact was he was willing to gamble that his actions wouldn’t end causing more bad than good. So how can anyone admire that? Would he be given such kudos if he made his grand entrance and through his lack of skill, ended up injuring someone?

    If PennRod wants to be a rescuer…give up acting and go to school to become one. Doing both just makes him looks really, really, really stupid.

  • RJ

    Sean Penn cares no more and no less about children than you or I do.

    But…he has the ability, through his wealth and fame, to go down there in NO and play around in a boat with photographers and journalists.

    In other words, he is playing the “hero” and happily posing for the cameras while doing so.

    As such, he is WORSE than the average American, who would happily go down there and help WITHOUT PHOTOGRAPHERS if we only were able to, economically…

  • Chris – Team America

    It reminds of this…

    “Last year I went to Iraq. Before Team America showed up it was a happy place. They had flowery medows and rainbow skys and rivers made of chocolate where the children laughed and played all day with gumdrop smiles!”

    Sean Penn – F.A.G.

  • ARJ, I’m with you all the way. To which end, note
    THIS and

  • arj

    The reason I got out of PR is it’s not me; I found the blurring between what is REAL and THE IMAGE to be very disturbing. What I see happening in New Orleans bothers me a lot. I feel angry when I see a photo of Sean Penn in a rescue boat or a Hillary Clinton down in New Orleans running her big mouth about how the disaster response was handled. It’s amazing how Bill & Hill are almost never together, except when there is a political situation. I am sure Hillary’s explanation for being in New Orleans is because she is traveling with her husband. Otherwise, what is reason for the Jr. Senator FROM NEW YORK doing at a disaster area in LOUISIANA anyway? Speak about opportunists! That woman makes me ill. Hillary, I thought you were going to be the Healthcare Guru under Bill’s Administration – what happened to that one anyway?

    On another topic, I am probably the only person who thinks this way, but Live 8 to me was such a sham! Who benefited from the concerts? Not the children from Africa! The musicians benefited certainly. Most of old-timers who haven’t sold a record in years made out like bandits after the event. The cities who held the concerts made $$ as well as the promoters and the stadiums. And P.S. I saw only a little bit of the concerts before I realized, THIS IS REALLY BAD. I turned it off it was so boring.

    To sum it up, I tired of rich/powerful people making $$ and fame off the backs of the general public. All of this behavior is an insult to my intelligence. Morally speaking, this kind of behavior bankrupts all of us because it leads to the rise of mediocrity. Trust me, we are now mediocre.

  • ooba jooba

    Hollyweird celebs are not real human beings, but creations of PR flaks. Penn is a crass opportunist and the worst that humanity has to offer.

  • dave

    “He did not bring a personal photographer. He came with me and his friend, a New Orleans writer named Douglas Brinkley, and the reason he came was because a friend of his had asked him to help him find a family member still stuck in her house. He did not consent to any photographs taken.”

    Did he consent to be quoted at length for the RS feature you’re writing on his heroic exploits? How did you come to attend this expedition in the first place? Did Penn alert you to the scoop and invite you along to record for posterity or were you just a personal friend pitching in with the effort?

    Just curious.

  • arj

    Regarding Sean Penn, all I can say about Sean is at least he is a good actor – so many of them are not. As a former Public Relations person, I know one of the characteristics of good publicity is “to be caught in the act of doing good” and it certainly fits the bill here. It appears to me Sean’s career enhancing actions are self serving and that he is using his celebrity and privilege to gain access to an area of New Orleans that is probably closed to the general public.

    It seems Sean is following the trend Angelia Jolie started with her UN “work” that, in my opinion, is a total publicity stunt with travel involved. I am so tired of overpaid and frequently uneducated celebrities telling me what causes I should be supporting when, in fact, they don’t live a normal life and haven’t a clue as to how others live. Let’s face it, in order for an actor to continue to get work, part of their job is to promote themselves, is it not? Also, I imagine it’s hard for celebrities to feel real at times when one has a large cushion of $$ and sycophants surrounding them, hence the fake behavior. While watching the hurricane coverage on TV, I am struck and dismayed by the number of politicians and celebrities with agendas who are hovering around the situation like vultures. It’s disgusting.


  • average guy

    where was Sean Penn during 9/11? I never saw him helping to rescue victims at the WTC! Why was that? Not enough po’ black folks there?

  • MissV

    To all those criticizing Mr Penn!
    Just ask yourselves one question: “Where have I been when Mr Penn was on that boat saving lives?”
    I assume that in most cases the answer is:”Sitting comfortably in front of my computer and writing some obscure comments.” I bet none of you were affected by the events in New Orleans, that`s why it`s so easy for you to criticize.
    Why don`t you just get your asses to New Orleans and do something. There are still people over there who need your help.
    I can`t believe that one of you suggested that MrPenn should be shot. Then again, maybe I shouldn`t be surprised. After all this is a country where 50 Cent and Eminem are national heroes and anyone displaying some humanity is seen as an outcast.

    Distresses European

  • Rolling Stone magazine reporter told me:

    (This was in response my saying that it would be sad to think anyone would make a photo-op over this situation…)

    “I was on the boat with Sean Penn this weekend. That’s me in the background of the above photo. (he saw this photo) The article you (spoke about) is completely mistaken. He did not bring a personal photographer. He came with me and his friend, a New Orleans writer named Douglas Brinkley, and the reason he came was because a friend of his had asked him to help him find a family member still stuck in her house. He did not consent to any photographs taken. The boat did spring a leak, but only at the end of the trip, after one of the people we pulled out of the water kicked the plug out by accident. The articles you read probably based reports on came from an Australian writer who was angry that Sean had declined an interview… ”

    He angrily goes on to add…

    “I don’t understand why people like you insist on believing that kind of reporting. Probably because you want to
    believe it.”

    M. Taibbi
    Rollling Stone Magazine

    Well Mr. Taibbi, I was not in the boat now was I? Just seeking some clarification. (My head is now missing.)

    So there you have it folks.

  • Spread the Hate

    Where’s Mr Activist Sean Penn during this crisis? He’s probably sipping Mai Tais in his mansion. If he had any integrity he would get off his ass and save some people from a bass boat himself. Put your money where your mouth is you coward!

  • evascuate. There are many many people who refuse to leave ther pets.

  • evascuate. There are many many people who refuse to leave ther pets.

  • the city and state have got to take the blame for this but lets brag on gov. Bob Riley of Ala. as much as I destest him I have to say I am proud of his work he was organizing and planning for Miss. and LA before the storm hit and Jeb Bush had his act together so I suppose our President thought the other governer’s would have thier act togrether.Where is PETA? Why dont they put their paint cans down put on some clothes and build a few shlters where people can bring their pets,more would.

  • Thank you, TeriSue. I appreciate your honesty.

    One might ask why you’d blame the president for this rather than the local officials. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of blame to spread around to everyone up and down the line.

    However, I’m inclined to be cut all officials a fair amount of slack. You may wish to keep in mind this classic moment from Richard Pryor’s Mudbone. CLICK HERE



  • TeriSue

    Ok, Al I’ll say it. You guys make me sick. You criticize someone for going out and helping people that your government did not do. You idolize a spineless moron who golfs, plays guitar and eats cake while a major city and parts of 3 states are drowning. Then he sets up a fake photo op a few days later, but still does nothing.

    Do you know that little Cuba evacuated over a million people ahead of a cat 5 hurricane last year with no loss of life? They even rescued the animals and appliances for pete sake. Chimpy couldn’t even get the people out with 2 days warning. Do you really think he’d care about you if it happened in your town?

  • Here’s the thing Adam, I’m not buying your “sadness.” I find it unlikely that you are in fact saddened by criticism of poor Sean.

    The implications seem more like, “My how us sensitive, morally superior beings pity you little people with your hostility towards a great humanitarian like Sean Penn.”

    I’m just saying that I’d appreciate a little more directness and honesty in your expressions of superiority. Thanks.

  • My goodness. The hate I have just read in these comments is very, very sad.

  • Steve

    It would appear to me that sean has political aspirations.

    wouldnt that be something. Jeff Spicoli in the whitehouse! only in america.

    …i don’t wanna be an american idiot…

  • Tube

    Mr. Hand needs to teach him another history lesson.

  • Yes Roger, but since he’s surely just trying to help out, he wouldn’t want people carrying on about him. So I’ll just respect the heroes’ wishes and shrug it off, m’kay?

  • RogerMDillion

    If he really helped ferry 40 stranded locals to safety as has been reported than I don’t care, and I’m sure the people he helped don’t either, who he had with him and what his motivations were.

    Sounds like he helped out 40 more people than you did sitting at your keyboard.

  • MLI

    Katrina came and devistated an area as large as the state of Michigan! It blows my mind to think how you even START to organize a rescue mission like that. It has to be done in an organized manner or chaos starts. Just look at the superdome issue! Are people missing the fact that Local and State governments have to be the first to the rescue? Were we expecting W to fly into the eye of the storm on Air Force One? I think America did the best it could given the circumstances. Sure, a lot of things could have been organized better or moved faster (ain’t hindsight great!). Is seems to me that those who have complained the most about what went wront have seriously underestimated the severity of the devistation. This is not about just one town.

  • emmarose

    Just to let you know, on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Mr. Sean and Douglas (whom I actually like) made sure they got an interview. Douglas was very articulate and said that he was from New Orleans and wanted to check things out and then Mr. Dumbass Oscar Winner starts blabbing incoherently on and on about a certain hospital that’s been really “cool” and has been taking in ALL of the people he saved from the water. Then he mispronounces dehydration and says the doctors don’t have all the medication they need for those in the water because of all the toxins and calls on any doctors WATCHING AT THE TIME to contact this hospital to let them know they can help. What a jackASS. Then he says that someone might want to think about….ready….?? using a KAYAK to navigate through the waters because the pathways are so narrow. Ummmm………how the hell do you save someone in a freaking kayak? It’s a one person boat. Will he drape the 90 year old wheelchair bound man onto the front of the kayak? What the hell is he thinking? And Sean made sure Soledad introduced him as “academy award winning actor/producer/director/activist Sean Penn”…I kid you not. He’s such a bloated dipshit asshole it’s not even funny. But when you’re born into the business, think delusionally that you’re the next Marlon Brando, and have always had connections from family, you end up being an idiot blowhard who is clueless about everyday life. I hope South Park skewers him so bad. He deserves it. And don’t even get me started on Geraldo Rivera having an elderly women do two takes of him rescuing her and her dog for Fox News!! Two takes! She was like 90 years old. Beyond one’s conscience.

  • td

    I don’t know what Penn’s motivation was, but I don’t think it matters. The fact is that there are still people out their waiting in their houses.

    They interviewed one of the official rescue teams last night and they stated that it would take weeks with the current manpower to go down every street and make sure everyone was out.

    This is why the Deputy Police cheif of NO stated in a press conferance that they welcome the efforts of people like Sean Penn because they need the help. So long as they check in at the command center anybody is welcome to go out in a boat and try to help people.

    My question is…..Why? Why do they need this help. Why aren’t there enough national guard, coast guard, police officers, etc to handle the situation. 5000 national guard have been sent, but obviously they need more so why aren’t they being sent.

    Why is the fate of these people being left up to Sean Penn and a leaking dingy?

  • sonic

    Does he have anything to gain by playng a hero??? Of cource not. The guy just wanted to make a contribution. Did you , Al Barger, do smoething even remotely close to this? I thought not, so keep your sorry excuses for yourself.

  • Lily

    So the people who actually live in New Orleans and are worried sick about their homes, friends, pets etc aren’t allowed back into the city, but these celebrities can just get right in and pose for photos (did you catch Harry Conick Jr. praying over a body. Sickening. At least he’s from New Orleans tho.

    This was so obviously a p.r. stunt. Did you notice that the person (people) he “saved” knew who he was? So he must have been identifying himself. And the photographer? Come on….
    How about the text-
    “He’s an oscar-winning actor and political activist.
    Now Sean Penn’s a rescuer”.
    Sure sounds like the work of a p.r. agency to me.
    I don;t go to movies very much but you can bet I’ll go out of my way to avoid any films he’s in.

  • rick

    thank God sean penn was available to help us save the day. I can’t wait to read his commentary in his full page newspaper advertisement. and thankfully his flak jacket saved him from the snipers. what a jack+ss

  • merg

    I can’t believe half the crap coming out of you people. The fact that you are sitting on your asses judging anyone for attempting to help in anyway possible is enough to quell my curiousity about why nobody got there sooner. They were all sitting around talking s**t about the people actually trying to do something, anything at all. Watching TV from the comfort of your dry livingroom, not worried at all about your house, kids, lives, grandmothers, whatever. Who cares if he takes a friggin photog with him? Wouldn’t you want to document anything you could? maybe he knows he’s crap with a camera, maybe the guy is his friend and wanted to help? Maybe it took him two days to actually get into the city from Houston, there are so many reasons that he did what he did. The point is that you are not there in your bullet proof vest, getting shot at or not, getting your boat sunk or not, trying to help or not. You’re just mouthing off, as useless as useless can be. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about a bunch of smart asses trying to make fun of someone else’s efforts. You sound like a bunch of jaded, holier than thou as**oles. You should be ashamed.

  • I see BB, so we have not just a Rolling Stone reporter, but presidential historian Douglas Brinkley to record his hoped for heroics.

  • steve

    Im tellin ya..he must have a movie coming out soon. The guy had a rolling stone photographer with him. HILARIOUS.

  • publicity or no, he has still done more than any of us… and I volunteer for the Red Cross.

  • Hypothetically because they’d never let you two goofs in, of course 🙂

    So amend “Playboy Mansion” to “Exxotic Fantasiezzzz Gentlemen’s Club” in Tampa and we’re about set.

    That is all.

  • That’s pretty funny, but no you wouldn’t, RJ 🙂

    You’d be too busy trying to scam coke with Tom Sizemore at the Playboy Mansion. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

    That is all.

  • RJ

    Hey, I’d be down there “trying to help” too, if only I had millions in the bank and a personal photographer to take pictures of my “heroic” actions for all the world to see…

    But I would NEVER be stupid enough to try to bail out a boat with a fucking DIXIE CUP!

  • BB

    Doug Brinkley is the caretaker of Hunter S. Thompson literary works. He is a close friend of Sean Penn, who was also close to Thompson. That he would at least try to help is admirable. That because you don’t like his politics would make him a subject of lies, ridicule and innuendo is an example of how fucked up this country has become.

  • RJ

    Sean would stop by, I’m sure, but he’s still busy trying to bail out a sinking bass boat with a red Dixie cup…

  • Eric Olsen

    what a wildly heterodox gathering on this thread: from Al to RS reporter Matt Taibbi to Meg Lee Chin (and if you are THE Meg Lee Chin, who recorded for Invisible, you ROCK – come back your nation needs you) to Gawker.

    What a country.

    If would be cool if Sean would stop by and shoot the shit

  • Robert

    If the local and state authorities should have taken care of business before this disaster even occured, we would have seen better progress being established afterwards.

  • Darth Syphilis

    >>Bottom Line: If Bush took care of things properly you wouldn’t have to see Sean Penn in a bass boat at all.

    Bottom line: If the looters had taken care of things properly, there would be no Sean Penn…and no bass boat.

  • I’d heard about his “rescue attempt” on the radio yesterday, but thanks to a quick search on the ol’ Google tonight, I received not only the PICTURE (worth a basquillion words) but the stellar wit from your site. By the way, I linked to your site from mine with the words: “Donate to the Send Sean Penn Back to the Safety of His Ego Fund.” I’m pretty sure Madonna isn’t missing him anymore.

  • Gary

    Awesome! Meg you are like some kind of Obi Wan Kenobi. I hear they call burritos “bangers and mash” over there in France. Is that true? Someday maybe i’ll just pack my suitcase and leave this old apple orchard in East Pallookaville. Until that day I can only listen to your magical tales from around the globe….and dream….

  • Yeah you guys lost me with your scathing criticism of Sean Penn. Regardless of his motives, bullet proof vest or anything else, he is out there trying to save people and do some good in this tragic circumstance while 99% of us sit back saying how horrible it is. A life saved is a life saved. Sounds pretty simple to me.

  • Yeah I left the US. America is not the place it used to be. The media is far too censored and controlled by corporate interests. I worked in sales and trained in media and advertising. I learned early on about the deregulation Reagan brought about which ruined America. The population has since been drip-fed a steady diet of propaganda ever since. When I was a kid, the newspeople used to actually report the news! I’d live anywhere in Europe before the States right now. I don’t mean to be insulting, but it sounds like you’ve never really traveled. You maybe oughtta get out and have a look around, ya know? There’s a whole big world out there.

  • Gary

    You know what Meg? You’re right.

  • C’mon Gary ,you and I both know George Bush is far from heroic. With all of the money oil companies poured into his election and PR, even Saddam could be president! The guy is a con and Americans have been duped. He has taken America and sold it down the river. This disaster makes it all clear. You only have to open your eyes to see. America has become an embarrassment. Your patriotism, while admirable, is misguided.

  • Gary

    I seriously doubt you’re in England. With a name like Meg Lee Chin you’re obviously French.

  • By the way. I moved to England!

  • All of this Sean Penn backlash makes me admire the guy even more. I’m glad he was courageous enough to go out there, even with the critics baying at his heels. If he managed to save just one life, its priceless and worth all the flack.

    Human beings are motivated by ego, that’s a fact. I’d rather this human trait lead to the creation of something good. If more celebrities jump on the bandwagon with this becoming the latest trend, then the more the merrier. better this than than some stupid new fashion look or hairdo. The point is, you don’t have to be Jesus or Mother Teresa, and you’re motives needn’t be 100% pure – we’re human and they rarely are. The main thing is that anyone can do some good now. Anyway, Sean Penn probably isn’t that desperate for publicity anyway.

  • Gary

    At least Bush visited the general area of the disaster within a week or so of the hurricane and had his picture taken with his arms around two honest to god negroes at the same time.
    We didn’t see any heroics of this sort from your precious Sean Penn and he’s a famous actor.

    p.s. Move to France.

  • Bush hired someone with no experience in disaster management to head FEMA – one of his buddies. Before the storm, flood prevention budgets had been slashed for 3 years in a row. Then, instead of rescuing people who clung on rooftops and died, Bush busied himself by lending a hand instead to his oil buddies by releasing some oil from the nation’s petroleum reserves. They’ll be making money from this disaster. It’s really getting pretty hard to defend George Bush. Time for people to wake up and realize that America has been robbed and raped. The man who went AWOL from the National Guard and hid in a bunker during 911 is showing his true colors. You really gotta look this time cuz it’s staring you right in the face.

  • johnnybub

    I heard this morning that mr penn had a photographer with him at all times,,I guess that bullet proof vest ( which is illegal for private citizens to own and wear in public) just was put on by accident,,,
    what a friggin publicity hound,,why doesnt he go back to Iraq ,,,

  • Merry

    Poor, Poor Billy. I think it might be time for a nap. Have a nice day 🙂

  • augrad

    I am not sure where you get your news from, Billy, but you are terribly misinformed. I heard on CNN (not FOX) that Bush and the governor had spoken on the phone and mutually decided it was best to evacuate the city 2 days before the storm hit.

    Does it make you feel better about yourself to call people names?

  • billy

    will one day take over the remaining branches of government leaving you,

    luckily the RepubliKKKans are finished. they have maxed out. the best they can do is 51% for their biggest star in a generation (BUSH) and they had to cheat to get that. you will be bitching like the right wing moron you are real soon. republicans only go down from here.

  • Merry

    Dear, Dear Billy. It’s simply common sense that individuals like yourself don’t stop long enough to factor into a situation before you begin speaking. This is the United States and the 21st century and not the days of Kings and Emperors. The president definitely holds some blame for the catastrophe that the south is faced with, but to place all the blame on one individual is simply ridiculous and political propaganda. What a shock you provide no intelligent discussion just insults that have no merit. Thank goodness the Republic party will one day take over the remaining branches of government leaving you, the simple folk, to hold your protest signs while drooling.

  • billy

    augrad you just lied. blanco declared a disaster early on and even that didnt get bush off his vacation. ehat dont you keep your mouth shut you right wing nutcase. bush is at fault, not some lowly officials. the more you spin, the more republicans look like the pussies they are.

  • Perhaps Dubya should have grabbed the closest rowboat and headed out to sea in New Orleans looking for survivors with Monsieur Penn and his Rolling Stone reporter. That’d help.

  • augrad

    Apparently you are not aware of how this country works. The states govern themselves until things get too big for them to handle. That’s when the Federal Government steps in. IT WAS NOT THE PRESIDENTS RESPONSIBILITY TO EVACUATE NEW ORLEANS, NOR WAS IT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS RESPONSIBILITY TO EVACUATE NEW ORLEANS. It is documented (by the governor of LA) that the president called her and asked her to mandate an evacuation of New Orleans and surrounding areas. Again, if you don’t know what you are talking about, then don’t say anything at all–people will think you are intelligent if you do that. Opening your mouth is what gets you in trouble.

  • billy

    what morons bush supporters show themselves to be. when things go wrong the boss takes the hit, not the low level employees. bush supporters havent learned the basics in life. thats why nearly everything they say is worthless.

  • augrad

    This is in response to GARY who said, “If Bush took care of things properly you wouldn’t have to see Sean Penn in a bass boat at all.”

    Instead of blaming the president for something that could have been avoided, lets take a few steps back and reason this out.
    I live in Pensacola, FL. On Friday morning before the hurricane, we woke up to the fact that it was going to hit us. We were all making the necessary plans to pack up and get out. Then, fortunately for us, but unfortunately for NOLA, we woke up Saturday and breathed a sigh of relief. We go to NOLA quite frequently for weekend trips, so knowing something about the city, I thought to myself, “the people who live there don’t even have cars, how can they evacuate?” I just assumed the governor and mayor of the city would be chartering buses, and coordinating evacuation shelters with neighboring states. They had 2 DAYS to rescue the people of NOLA. I was shocked that they did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
    Now, I’m not a rocket scientist, but it occurs to me that these people could have been long gone by the time the hurricane hit with a little effort by the local government, and FEMA wouldn’t have even been needed–except for the dummies who had a means to leave, but chose to stay anyway.

    I have found that when you don’t know much about a situation, it’s best just to not say anything.

  • ukexpat

    If you think Sean Penn’s only reason for being there is shameless self-publicity, what about Oprah and Jesse Jackson??

  • Merry

    Gary: Bush is the President and is the HEAD of State. The people working under him are responsible for informing him of what is needed. The requests were all low balled and as a result the efforts where not enough. But people, such as you, should stop using this tragedy as a political platform for bash Bush. He can not do it all himself, everyone failed these people not just one man.

  • Okay M. Taibbi, your version is that this Douglas Brinkley from New Orleans called Sean Penn in LA or wherever over a missing family member, and he comes roaring in like Mighty Mouse. “Here I come to save the day!”

    This story doesn’t really make good sense. An untrained rich guy a thousand miles away would maybe spend a few bucks to call the closest in competent help he could. But if for example I were stranded in an Indiana snowstorm, I wouldn’t be calling somebody in LA to come dig me out. I’d be froze to death (or in this case drowned) before they got there.

    And he needs a reporter from Rolling Stone magazine with him on this “rescue mission” why? I assume that you did NOT have a camera to record his heroics, right?

  • Bush was late with a response AFTER the hurricane was overwith. Period. And to say Bush has been faced with obstacles is ridiculous- he has created most of the obstacles himself, and he still found the time to take a 5 week vacation in the middle of a WAR!!!!! Face it, the guy was late in offering help to Tsunami victims, and he only responded to New Orleans when it became a political issue, and that’s when he showed up and started hugging African Americans in front of the cameras to prove to America that he really cares lol. Please don’t tell me you are still fooled by this administration and their lack of concern for our welfare?

  • In a funny but not so surprising development, the National Post, a major Canadian daily paper, featured that very same picture of Sean Penn in Monday’s edition. The funny and not so suprising part is that they cut off the picture at Penn’s forearm, thus leaving the bailing can out of the frame. So instead of a PR hungry actor looking like a bumbling moron, he looks like he’s dramatically making eye contact while reaching for a faceless victim.

    This was accompanied by a picture of John Travolta who, according to the caption, flew his own plane to New Orleans laden with supplies. Its cool he got clearance to land as a civilian in a disaster zone in the midst of an evacuation.

    Also, on the front page was a picture with Oprah in the Superdome…which I thought was mostly evacuated and now secured.

    Still, worthy of a front page in a national newspaper…as opposed to unrecognizable pictures of firefighters, medical staff, policemen or army.

  • All he needs to do to film a disaster is point the camera at himself all day long.


  • steve

    sean penn is making a natural disaster documentary…you didnt know? LoL

  • LAH

    Good try. What was he doing there? I saw the pictures, the boat was packed and clearly unstable. And why a reporter anyway? What is Sean Penn doing rescuing a friend’s family member, is he trained in such actions? And what about his flak jacket? Who is this mythical “Australian” writer? Sean Penn is a clown.

  • steve

    so you were with sean penn, eh? did you drop your canon rebel slr into the mississippi?

    did your sports lens get a good picture of spicoli saving lives?

    does sean have a movie coming out soon? or was he down there because his face hasnt been in the news lately?

  • Matt Taibbi

    I was on the boat with Sean Penn this weekend. That’s me in the background of the above photo.

    The article you wrote is completely mistaken. He did not bring a personal photographer. He came with me and his friend, a New Orleans writer named Douglas Brinkley, and the reason he came was because a friend of his had asked him to help him find a family member still stuck in her house. He did not consent to any photographs taken. The boat did spring a leak, but only at the end of the trip, after one of the people we pulled out of the water kicked the plug out by accident. The articles you probably based your reports on came from an Australian writer who was angry that Sean had declined an interview.

    I don’t understand why people like you insist on believing that kind of reporting. Probably because you want to believe it.

    M. Taibbi
    Rollling Stone Magazine

  • Well Gary if you want to be consistent, “at least he tried to do something.”

  • Gary

    How about those pictures yesterday of Bush smirking for the camera with his arms around some emaciated black girls.

  • James

    I wonder if anyone knows about political hierarchy. Everybody is so quick to point the finger at Bush, When it all started at the city and state levels. Initial responsibility should start at the State level with the governor. Governor Blanco should have had the ball rolling two weekends ago. Federal government does not get involved till it is realized that the state cannot handle the situation.

  • Let’s leave Tim Robbins and the missus out of this. There’s plenty of time to monkey with them another day, but I haven’t seen anything of them rushing out to play hero in front of cameras like this.

    They do enough silly stuff to criticize without invoking them when they don’t.

  • steve

    I think tim robbins and susan sarandon should share the same dingy as Penn. what a sight that would be! then they can all start a commune in France together

  • arf… damn typos…

  • Indeed, what a cheap PR stunt… so very much unlike unnamed top-ranking politicos who would never do such a thing as showing up on the locations of national disasters with not much else than an army of photographers, stupid one-liners and an utter inability to actually do things…

    Come to think of it, maybe there’s worth than Sean Penn and his toy-boat mission…

  • steve

    sean penn is a communist. he should move to france and live beside johnny depp

  • My God – what has happened to America?
    Sean Penn was hauling your fellow countrymen out of the water – he was saving lives – thousands of your own people are dead and all most of you can do is bitch about party politics!
    Dont you care about your own people? – you’ve got a million refugees and your shameful government’s response has been pitiful – most people around the world have been disgusted by the Bush administration’s sickening, callous disregard for the suffering of American citizens last week – what are you doing to help? Send some cash to the US Red Cross – I have – and grow up!

  • Ed

    And you…. you’re doing WHAT exactly?

    Oh, right. NOTHING.

    How superior are you, now?

  • steve

    Where is Team America when you need them?

  • Gary

    So here’s Sean Penn in New Orleans trying to rescue people and we have right wingers posting that they wish he would be shot/shot at.
    Nice way to promote your agenda.

  • It’s a good thing to save lives.

    But a true hero does not exalt onesself through the media in an attempt to be heralded as such when others are doing the same job without nearly the same glory.

  • sicboy

    He has the means, and the motivation to do something positive. Why put him down for that? Maybe he’s not trained in urban search and rescue, but I am, and had absolutely no desire to go there. I think that makes him a better man than me.

  • cam

    Sean Penn has had this coming to him for a long time. He has some nerve to make rescuing children into a photo opportunity. Maybe we will get lucky and he will try to rescue on of those roaming gangs.

  • cam

    What would you have wanted Bush to do? Send in the national guard while it was still a category one and wait for them to caught in the hurricane too. Its easy to call out mistakes after something happens but Bush been faced with many obstacles in his presidency and I am sure that he will handle things well.

  • Gary

    At least he tried to do something.
    He should bring a photographer to further document the blundering rescue effort.
    Why wasn’t he there earlier? Maybe he thought, like most, that our govt. could handle this. Over a week has gone by and there are still more to be rescued.
    Bottom Line: If Bush took care of things properly you wouldn’t have to see Sean Penn in a bass boat at all.

  • RJ

    If he had left the personal photographer off the boat, couldn’t he have fit another desperate, starving child onboard?


    So why did he have a personal photographer onboard?

    Take a wild guess…

    (FWIW, his parents were Communists, with the big “C”…)

  • If surliness could rescue children, this thread alone could lift a hundred into safety.

    I agree Tim Howe and Billy.

    Sean Penn went down there to try and help and that’s a damn sight better then sitting around critiquing.

    This weekend two Duke University students with fake press credentials rescued seven strangers in their Hyndai. [Per Fox News]

  • billy

    communism died a generation ago, shows how out of touch your typical republican is, they are still afraid of commie boogeymen. but why cap on penn, hes trying to help, why call kanye west a racist? he helped raise 30 million. these people are doing the right thing, helping americans. i guess that is foreign to rtepublicans, they prefer to help iraqis.

  • Tim Howe

    Oh come on, I know this will fall on deaf ears, but give the guy a break…it is very easy to forget to plug up the bailer on his boat and then once that problem hits ya – its way hard to remember how to start the outboard – way hard! (I live on a boat – I often understand the cascading efects of water problems – though ending up with a cup in your hand means immediate trouble – yo) Your not gonna be getting an ironic remark for me…I applaud his desire (NO you know) and his heart…He went there with good intentions but …it seems more interesting to wonder what is he gonna do next? Are smart ass comments from the media darlings and partisans gonna make him stop what he has started? There is Still a LOT you could do with that skiff in that town. Is he gonna stick? If he does Ill applaud him truly and sincerely. (Well, I already applaud him for giving it a try – no one should criticize who hasnt done it themselves) Wanting to muck around in very polluted waters is very, very unpleasent (and this is from someone who used to be involved in the annual `round- manhattan’ swim, the east river is perrier compared to week left over flood water) There seems to be a bunch of people who are staying and any boat will be handy for the next couple of weeks or so…so theres a lot of good he can do…thousands of people have died down there….thousands… I hope he can take the ridicule and the beating he’s a-taking (is there a joke yet?) and respond in the only way he should, by sucking it up and heading back out to help those `children’ and their folks… Hope he does.


  • Redtard is a commie. I hope him and Sean Penn get looted.

  • This is Celine Dion’s Official Website.

    Then there’s Celine Dion USA, Celine Dion Magazine…

  • Pam

    Is there a blog on Celine Dion so I can rant on and on about how utterly dumb and ridiculous she looked on Larry King Live, waving her arms wildly, crying and talking about how “these poor people have never touched a big screen TV, so let them touch one”??? Does anyone think that if a band of roving looters knocked on her door and asked to touch HER TV, they’d be welcomed in with a smile? Am I the only one who noticed that she mentioned her million dollar donation NUMEROUS times? How altruistic and wonderfully heartwarming you are, Celine. Now I know why she picked that butt ugly backwards zoot suit a while back … she IS just plain stupid.

    I think it’s sickening and reprehensible, these celebs and politicians who shamelessly use the suffering of others to get their faces in the media, pretending to be concerned about the poor people.

    I agree. Where’s a looter when you need one?

  • Good point Matt.

  • Anthony Grande

    I wish his boat wouldn’t have sprung a leak and he would have gotten there. So someone could have shot at him so he would know what it feels like to get shot at by the same people he is trying to rescue.

  • RedTard


    I think you are onto something, but you forgot the largest group of non-earning millionaires. People who inherit their fortunes. This country needs to keep taxes on earners low and bring back high estate taxes.

  • Penn sure does look like an attention whore.

    BUT, he did save lives, and like I’ve said in the past from the “other” side, now’s no time to care about political favoritism when it comes to helping out.

    BUT, how many other rescuers are getting front page news?

  • Carl

    I thought he was in Iran. At least this photo wasn’t accompanied by an inarticulate Kanye-like “I went shopping first” rant. How disconnected from reality are these guys?

    It’s more clear to me than ever that becoming a millionaire without earning it has serious psychological ramifications that require serious study – if we could ever get a statistically signinficant sample of such people (pro athletes, “recording artists”, tv and movie stars, Enron executives, etc.)

  • Dan, you’re quite the wit today.

    Alex, he’s not tooting his horn? Did you miss the part about the personal photographer?

  • uao

    This is pretty funny, Al.

    Well, he got his picture out now.

    Had it not been for the personal photographer, I would’ve given him the benefit of the doubt. Might not be a smart idea, but if he was sufficiently moved that he felt he just had to do something hands-on, then swell. He woulda gotten photographed anyway; there’s no shortage of cameras there now.

    But the personal photographer was an idea that deserved to spring a leak.

  • Dan

    He’s just now getting there? What a sick twisted racist. If it were little white children needing rescued, he would have gone in days ago. And brought a bigger boat. But I guess he thinks black children only deserve a dilapidated, leaky dingy.

  • RedTard

    While it is a little bit over the top I have wondered myself why more personal watercraft have not been seen in the rescue effort.

    There are probably tens or hundreds of thousands of boats, including ones designed to navigate shallow waters, in the area. I was quite surprised that I haven’t seen many of them assisting in the rescue effort.

    There may be some perfectly reasonable explanation though. Too much debris in the way, etc.

  • ALEX

    AND…just maybe he really does care and wanted to actually do something instead of most of the couch potatoes in this country. You know how much $$$ he has given so far to this cause? Me neither, he not tooting his horn like Celine Dion.

  • Woo-wee there, Black Met, you’re more hardcore than me. If’n I was wandering around what’s left of New Orleans, he’d just need a rotten tomatoe proof vest.

  • Is that bullet proof vest he’s wearing? What a freakin’ dork…

    I wonder how many refugees he plans to house in his LA mansion for the next six months?

    Where are the looter/snipers when you REALLY need one?

  • DJ Ham, thanks for the thoughtful comments, but I have to disagree with this part: “This is so clearly a publicity stunt it isn’t even funny.” Au contraire, this is certainly the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while.

  • DJ Ham

    So many of the Hollywood celebs’ social concerns are fueled by a desire for self-promotion (i.e. photo ops, news clips, etc), and this is yet another example. Sean Penn blunders down there “looking for children.” Why not set out to rescue anyone he finds? Oh…wait…children are MUCH better for publicity purposes! And look at that boat! It’s a small hunting boat! He would barely be able to fit a few children in there! What did he seriously expect to accomplish in that little thing so many days after most people have been evacuated and professional rescue operations are firmly underway? And a personal photographer in tow? This is so clearly a publicity stunt it isn’t even funny. (Though it is terribly funny to see Penn bail out his boat with a small cup)

    It’s sickening that Penn, an activist for various social causes, uses the death and pain of others to shamelessly promote himself for a photo-op for the public. His reckless attempted “rescue” was not about saving others as it was about his career and social standing. That is sick, and I lost even more respect for Penn. While the state, local, and federal government might have been too slow responding to the crisis, Penn’s disingenuous response is the most morally depraved of them all.