In a recently published Rolling Stone magazine interview, El Chapo’s prison escape was shown on video, with the Mexican drug lord going before the camera while he was still on the run at the time. Actor Sean Penn went way out of his his way to secure the in-person interview with Joaquín Guzmán, traveling to a secret location in the Mexican jungles.
Besides the interview itself, what makes the Rolling Stone article interesting is how Penn portrays El Chapo, claiming that the Mexican drug lord “is a businessman first.” The actor even goes so far as to compare El Chapo to Osama bin Laden, yet Penn takes one step further and suggests that the American public is to blame for creating El Chapo in the first place.
In the video recently released by Rolling Stone Magazine, Penn is certainly looking fairly rugged. The video was recorded back in October, when El Chapo’s prison break was still a success. Penn managed to arrange the interview by working a producer known only as Espinoza. He also worked with Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, who had been in contact with El Chapo ever since she tweeted out a plea for his organization to help people.
The two flew down to Mexico and then traveled into the jungles using SUVs. From there, Penn and Castillo were surrounded by around 30 armed guards, with hundreds of soldiers standing nearby. Their first meeting was very brief, but several weeks later El Chapo agreed to do a lengthier interview.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) January 10, 2016
The interview questions ranged from asking El Chapo’s opinion on Donald Trump, to whether or not Joaquín Guzmán could really be considered a drug dealer. Although the man once denied such a label, in the interview he told Penn he wanted a movie made out of his exploits.
“I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats,” he said.
Yes, El Chapo is openly breaking bad now, and the Breaking Bad comparison could almost be extended to the way Sean Penn framed his meeting with El Chapo.
“I take no pride in keeping secrets that may be perceived as protecting criminals, nor do I have any gloating arrogance at posing for selfies with unknowing security men. But I’m in my rhythm. Everything I say to everyone must be true,” Penn explained. “I took some comfort in a unique aspect of El Chapo’s reputation among the heads of drug cartels in Mexico: that, unlike many of his counterparts who engage in gratuitous kidnapping and murder, El Chapo is a businessman first, and only resorts to violence when he deems it advantageous to himself or his business interests.”
Does this mean El Chapo is now a Mexican Heisenberg without Walter White’s cancer as an excuse? On social media, some were astounded that Penn would attempt to excuse Guzmán’s use of violence in any manner.
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) January 10, 2016
The jokes at Penn’s expense are already starting to roll in, with the fake North Korean parody Twitter account mocking the actor.
Distinguished U.S. actor Sean Penn arrives in Pyongyang to discuss root causes of world hunger with Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un.
— DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) January 10, 2016
If the CIA had just made Rolling Stone send Sean Penn to interview bin Laden in 2001 it would have saved us all a lot of time
— Doug Saunders (@DougSaunders) January 10, 2016
But what may upset some Americans even more is how Penn portrayed the American public.
“As an American citizen, I’m drawn to explore what may be inconsistent with the portrayals our government and media brand upon their declared enemies. Not since Osama bin Laden has the pursuit of a fugitive so occupied the public imagination. But unlike bin Laden, who had posed the ludicrous premise that a country’s entire population is defined by – and therefore complicit in – its leadership’s policies, with the world’s most wanted drug lord, are we, the American public, not indeed complicit in what we demonize? We are the consumers, and as such, we are complicit in every murder, and in every corruption of an institution’s ability to protect the quality of life for citizens of Mexico and the United States that comes as a result of our insatiable appetite for illicit narcotics.”
What do you think about Sean Penn’s interview with El Chapo?
All of us coming together in solidarity to hate Sean Penn pic.twitter.com/UsNNqb98Qa
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) January 10, 2016
i know this country is politically polarized but i really think that hating sean penn might be what can bring us all back together again
— Josh Fruhlinger (@jfruh) January 10, 2016
Are we gonna extradite Sean Penn? That’d be cool. https://t.co/LLngmRWdeu
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) January 10, 2016
[Image via AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo]