Flashback: Robert Davi's Penn Pal Letter Bears Fruit

Flashback: Robert Davi's Penn Pal Letter Bears Fruit

Most celebrity watchers were stunned to see the new Sean Penn video where the combustible actor agrees to disagree with right-leaning singer Kid Rock.

The clip may represent a genuine change of heart for Penn, known for his blistering tirades against those with whom he disagrees.Perhaps Penn finally caught up with the column actor/singer Robert Davi penned back in 2009 on the matter of separating the artist from his or her politics.

Davi defended Penn for using his acceptance speech at that year’s Oscar ceremony for some short but pointed political comments, while recalling how Penn’s father got entangled in the Hollywood blacklist for his beliefs. More importantly, Davi saluted an artist while bemoaning those who cannot separate Penn’s political leanings from his craft. 

Mr. Penn is an amazingly gifted talent; his commitment to his character was total. The film “Milk” was about a deeply committed historical figure. Like his politics or not, he is one of the most important actors of our generation. In that euphoric moment of winning the Oscar and for a character he deeply felt, it was appropriate for him to make the comment he did. Imagine the euphoria of that moment he must have felt winning for a character whose passion matched his own. Did everyone expect a superficial statement from him? A mere “Thank You and Good Night” or” I want to thank my agent and dry cleaner”? I think not.

We must be vigilant in not letting our political differences stifle our freedom of speech by demonizing those we do not agree with. We must be vigilant to not hurt someone’s livelihood because of differing opinions. We must be able to discuss freely without fear. It is in this spirit that I come to the defense of Sean Penn … the defense of us all.