Sean Penn is calling on Hollywood to boycott the Academy Awards if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is denied a chance to speak at the red-carpet event.
“I would encourage everyone involved to know, though it may be their moment, and I understand that, to celebrate their films, it is so much more their moment to shine and to protest and to boycott that Academy Awards,” the controversial actor said in an appearance on CNN Saturday afternoon.
Penn, 61, has won two Oscars and vowed to “smelt mine in public” if Zelensky is snubbed by the Academy.
The Ukrainian leader has been in talks with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make a video appearance during Sunday’s broadcast of the Oscars ceremony. Penn met with Zelensky while in Ukraine in February, when he was filming a documentary about the nation’s tensions and now was with Russia.
Oscars ceremony co-host Amy Schumer floated the idea of having Zelensky speak at the event last week, People reported.
“It is my understanding that a decision has been made not to do it” Penn said of having Zelensky speak.
“If the Academy has elected not to do it, if presenters have elected not to pursue the leadership in Ukraine, who are taking bullets and bombs for us, along with the Ukrainian children they are trying to protect, then I think every single one of those people and every bit of that decision will have been the most obscene moment in all of Hollywood history. ”