A Today interview with Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone turned into a frank discussion of the #MeToo movement. The topic arose from discussing their new Hulu series The First, a sci-fi drama about a mission to Mars, when McElhone noted that her character was informed by #MeToo and women coming forward with their stories of harassment and abuse. In response, Penn said he felt that the movement also has an exploitative side.
“I think it’s influenced by the things that are developing in terms of the empowerment of women who’ve been acknowledging each other and being acknowledged by men. This is a movement that was largely shouldered by a kind of receptacle of the salacious,” Penn said. “The spirit of much of what has been the #MeToo movement is to divide men and women.”
“This is a movement that was, you know, largely shouldered by a kind of receptacle of the salacious,” Sean Penn says to @nmoralesnbc during a discussion about the #MeToo movement pic.twitter.com/O4yGtEZjpk
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 17, 2018
“I’m very suspicious of a movement that gets glommed onto, in great stridency and rage, and without nuance. And even when people try to discuss it in a nuanced way, the nuance itself is attacked … It’s too black and white. In most things that are very important, it’s really good to just slow down.”
While the actor has not faced his own resurfaced allegations of sexual misconduct, Penn does have an alleged history of abuse and violence; in 2015, Penn filed a $10 million lawsuit against director Lee Daniels after that filmmaker made light of past accusations against Penn in an interview.