Sean Penn Discusses ‘Rolling Stone’ Article And Dangers Of Connection With Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’

Sean Penn is still experiencing fall out from last week’s Rolling Stone article on Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Penn has since said his article failed to do what he intended — open up public debate about the War on Drugs. On Sunday, an interview with Charlie Rose will air on CBS 60 Minutes, and the Academy-award winning actor will be asked if his life is in danger as Mexico officials have said that Penn’s meeting with El Chapo led to his rearrest.

Shortly after the article was published, there was an outcry from journalists around the world. Penn attributed this to envy because of his access to El Chapo, stating, “When you get the story that every journalist in the world wanted, there’s a lot of green-eyed monsters that’s gonna come give you a kiss,” noted CBS. He also took offense at journalists calling out the fact that the actor is not a trained journalist. He believes that a traditional journalist would never have landed the interview.

But Rose questioned Penn on a much larger issue: Does the Mexican government and El Chapo’s cartel believe that the actor is responsible for their leader’s arrest? Sean seeks to dispel what he calls a “myth” surrounding the timing of the arrest on January 8. Rolling Stone published the article on January 9, but the interview between the actor and El Chapo actually occurred on October 2, long before and far from the site of his arrest, added CBS.

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. We had met with him many weeks earlier…on October 2nd, in a place nowhere near where he was captured.

Rose asked if the visit to Mexico had anything to do with the arrest. Again, the response detailed how Sean was able to meet with the most wanted fugitive in the world and why the Mexican government is now stating that Penn’s involvement led to the arrest.

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. 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.

The contact was Mexican soap actress Kate del Castillo whom El Chapo had a crush on. Del Castillo is the one the drug kingpin entrusts to bring the story of his life to the Big Screen. She had been in touch with him off and on over the years and was the mediator between the then-fugitive and Penn. Some believe that del Castillo crossed the line, and the Mexican government wants to speak to both her and Penn.

Rose asked other important questions that should concern Penn, considering that Mexican officials said he aided the capture of Guzman, per Vanity Fair. Charlie asked, “Do you believe that the Mexican government released this in part because they wanted to see you blamed and put you at risk?” The response, “Yes.” When asked if the government wanted the cartel to “put you in their crosshairs,” the answer was also, “Yes.” Finally, Charlie asked, “Are you fearful for your life?” Penn’s response was “No.”

Charlie Rose’s interview with Sean Penn should be an interesting one, and hopefully, it will give the actor-activist an opportunity to clear the air. Perhaps his fans will then understand why he took huge risks and maybe a conversation will get started on illegal drug use in the United States and how demand keeps the cartels in business.

[Photo via Pascal Le Segretain/Getty]