Sean Penn on ‘El Chapo’ Meeting: ‘My Article Has Failed’

Sean Penn broke his silence about his now notorious meeting with Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

“Let me be clear. My article has failed,”  the actor told Charlie Rose in an excerpt of a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Friday on “CBS This Morning.” The story will air in its entirety on Sunday.

Penn conducted an interview with the drug kingpin months ago during which they discussed producing a film about his life. Rolling Stone published the actor’s firsthand account after Guzman was captured by authorities on Jan. 8.

Penn said his meeting didn’t lead to Guzman’s capture.

“There is this myth about the visit that we made, my colleagues and I with El Chapo, that it was — as the Attorney General of Mexico is quoted — ‘essential’ to his capture,” Penn said. “We had met with him many weeks earlier … on October 2nd, in a place nowhere near where he was captured.”

“Here’s the things that we know: We know that the Mexican government … they were clearly very humiliated by the notion that someone found him before they did,” Penn said. “Well, nobody found him before they did. We didn’t — we’re not smarter than the DEA or the Mexican intelligence. We had a contact upon which we were able to facilitate an invitation.”

Penn said the Mexican government has made him a scapegoat and a target of the cartel. His initial intent was to use the meeting to initiate dialogue about the war on drugs.

“We’re going to put all our focus — forget about blame — we’re going to put all our focus, all our energy, all our billions of dollars on the ‘bad guy,’ and what happens? You get another death the next day the same way,” Penn said.

He said Guzman was captured months after his meeting — arranged by Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo — and in a completely different location.

He also implied that the reporters questioning his journalistic ethics are jealous of his experience.

“When you get the story that every journalist in the world wanted, there’s a lot of green-eyed monsters who gonna come give you a kiss,” Penn said.

Penn added that he has “a terrible regret.”

“The entire discussion abut this article ignores its purpose which was to try to contribute to this discussion about the policy to the war on drugs,” Penn told Rose.

“Let’s go to the big picture of what we all want. We all want this drug problem to stop. We all want them — the killings in Chicago to stop,” Penn added. “We are the consumer. Whether you agree with Sean Penn or not, there is a complicity there. And if you are in the moral right, or on the far left, just as many of your children are doing these drugs … And how much time have they spent in the last week since this article come [sic] out, talking about that? One percent? I think that’d be generous.”

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  1. After looking into a few of the articles on your web site,
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  2. RTF says:

    Sheesh, Sean. The article sucked and all, but don’t apologize for it. I’m still glad you did it. And I get what you were doing. My complaint is that it was too long. And, I did take something from it, that Guzman is a serious family man. It’s like Tony Soprano. A sociopath that tries to compensate for the bad with an undying love for family. I think Chapo mentioned family in every answer. Of course it could be a way to soften up an inevitable trial jury. Suppose one day his kids will speak, write books of their own. But I buy it. I’ve seen this a lot. And, it is something people can take from it, even law enforcement that are trying to understand the minds of those they’re trying to capture. That is, of course, if they genuinely want drug lords like Chapo stopped…

  3. tlsnyder42 says:

    The more Anti-God and Anti-Jesus the world becomes, the more you’ll have problems like drug addiction. Government and the Left, along with many “libertarians,” have destroyed the American family, especially poor families and minority families. Even the Left’s and the Libertarian solutions are only treating the symptom. The good news is that really destructive drug addiction and drug crime doesn’t infect my neighborhood. It’s only when I must go into a large city like Los Angeles does that happen. And, who runs Los Angeles? The Democratic Party and Hollywood!

  4. Capt DJ says:

    I disagree with Sean Penn on almost everything, but it is a fact that we are the customers, we are the consumers. The war on drugs will never be won by targeting “the big man.” There will always be someone to take his place. The only way to stop it is by stopping the demand. If we are not willing to address this, we will continue to waste our efforts by treating the symptoms and not the cause.

    • Well thank the pharmaceutical companies and fda for increasing the demand for heroin by prescribing a drugs close to legal heroin that was originally meant for use by hospital and cancer patients.
      In the Rollingstone article El Chapo said major US corporations are involved in the drug trade as well but not to cite their names in the article, who are they? and lets go after them.

  5. Bob says:

    The funny thing is, that Sean Penn is now in the same position like Michael Fassbender in “The Counselor”. Simply by coincidence and association the cartels now think that Penn’s a snitch and betrayed them. Even if Penn says the truth and he didn’t do it, it doesn’t matter to them. They will kill him simply because of the suspicion. With Cormac McCarthy’s wonderful words: “They heard of coincidences. They’ve just never seen one.”

  6. Ringo says:

    I’m not quite sure what Sean Penn thinks he has “contributed” to the discussion on drugs by meeting one drug lord. Everything that ‘El Chapo’ said to him is probably a lie and P.R.. Penn crossed a line here, that someone famous shouldn’t cross: Just by meeting this people, they give them a status and credibility, that they shouldn’t get. You can’t just shake hands with the devil and say ‘Goodbye. see you later!’. Penn didn’t do any service to the public. He did a service to his own publicity and that of ‘El Chapo’. I hope it was worth it, because the suspicion that Penn’s visit was the key to get ‘El Chapo’ should be enough to get Mr. Penn killed in the next years. Yes, Penn is famous, but there are a lot of methods to make it look like an accident. Penn showed the world again, why actors should stay out of politics.

  7. Hotdiver says:

    Oh Dear
    Yet again he puts his mouth into something that is none of his business, watch your back Penn they will be looking for you !!!!

  8. Silverback says:

    Penn’s love affair with Hugo Chavez didn’t do well for him either. He is usually on the anti-American side of any issue.

  9. H Allen says:

    Since Hunter Thompson, few journalists have succeeded with the “Gonzo” approach as well as Sean Penn, particularly his El Chapo piece. The insertion of the “story behind the story” by the author – putting the author and his thoughts along side of the subject – is often a more compelling tale than the cold hard facts only….

  10. eqquesz says:

    I am guessing that snitching on Ol’ El Chapo wasn’t such a good Idea , either, Mr. Penn.

  11. Keith Thompson says:

    His voice sure has a tone of being very very scared. Better start looking over your shoulder and sleeping in a different bed every night Sean. RIP

  12. This is not the first time Sean Penn has been on the wrong side of the law. He is one that I am personally going to write off in viewing due to his policies and politics!

    • Tea Party Massacre says:

      Nice try, Rupert Murdoch.

    • AJ says:

      Not “viewing” someone because of their politics is asinine. He also did not break any laws of which I’m aware, and the perspective he brings to this story is the right one. Nothing that happens to El Chapo changes ANYTHING. El Chapo is one tiny cog in a big system. Remove him, as has been done before with his stints in prison, and business goes on. Someone else steps up. You don’t fix anything but focusing so much resources on this one man.

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