LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 08: Sean Penn poses at the “Meet Me In Australia” event benefiting Australia Wildlife Relief Efforts at Los Angeles Zoo on March 08, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
  • Interviews

Sean Penn: “There’s more that all of us could do.”

When the COVID-19 health crisis hit California hard, Sean Penn was not going to stay at home and do nothing. He knew there was a need for help from his non-profit organization, CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort), which he founded with Ann Lee in 2010. But Penn did not just write a check: he went out into the field to help administer thousands of COVID-19 tests focusing on the most disadvantaged in our communities – and he still does. We spoke to him about his community work during the health crisis.

There were many ways to help during the current pandemic, but CORE decided to help with testing. Why this approach?

Who are the people involved in the testing, and who do you collaborate with to make sure it is done safely and correctly?

How hands-on are you yourself?  Explain what a “normal” week during the pandemic looks like for you?

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How do you ensure that you are not yourself exposed to the virus and thus a “health threat” to others?

I used to comfort myself in emergency situations by telling myself that “only the good die young.” But I woke up to the COVID-19 pandemic finding I wasn’t all that young anymore. So, I’m pretty damn diligent on handwashing, masking, distancing, and otherwise sanitizing everything and everybody I get around.

You have become a significant player in the world of activism. Can you speak about the exact moment that motivated you to do something?

Where does the urge to help come from? Is it from your heart or your brain?

What motivates you today?

Some people might say you are controversial. What is your comment on that?

What is your main passion – your activism or your art?