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Sean Penn on El Chapo Interview: ‘It Was a Very Good Failure’

Sean Penn has clarified his comments regarding his article about Mexican drug lord El Chapo, which he previously referred to as a failure.

“I have found throughout my life — and it well be by me — that I am taken very literally, and I don’t know if I mean anything literally,” Penn said Friday at the RSA cyber-security conference in San Francisco (via Mashable).

“What I really meant by failed was to get them to say, ‘Oh, it failed,’ and to keep talking about it,” Penn said. “I sit back at home and I watch them talk about the drug war every f—ing day. It was a very good failure.”

The actor, who set the Internet ablaze after his controversial interview with the drug lord, said he considered his article a failure because it failed to ignite a bigger discussion about the War on Drugs, during an interview with Charlie Rose on “60 Minutes.”

But the actor didn’t fault himself — he said mainstream media failed to see what the article was truly about.

While he said the media’s failure worked to his good, he did not hold off from criticizing the industry. He said the 24-hour news cycle is separating viewers from the truth and destroying journalism. As a writer himself, Penn saw the El Chapo interview as an opportunity to bring his frustrations to the forefront.

“I had felt very strongly that we were repeating in this War on Drugs the mistakes of the Prohibition era, that we were, in my view, complicit in all that comes with them,” Penn said. “And as somebody who writes, I was interested in what would happen between that interaction and my pen. So that was it.”

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