Sean Penn Says #MeToo Movement Just Divides Men And Women

Sean Penn thinks #MeToo movement is 'salacious' and too 'black and white.'

Sean Penn says #MeToo divides men and women.
Rachel Murray / Getty Images

Sean Penn thinks #MeToo movement is 'salacious' and too 'black and white.'

Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone were recently interviewed by TODAY, where they discussed their new Hulu show, The First, which is about a dangerous mission to Mars. Penn also expressed his thoughts about the #MeToo movement, saying that it’s “too black and white.” He also said, “Well, we don’t know what’s a fact in many of the cases. Salacious is as soon as you call something a movement that is really a series of many individual accusers, victims, accusations, some of which are unfounded.”

The new Hulu show is set in 2030 and has several strong female characters, including three astronauts and the President of the United States. McElhone’s character oversees the mission and according to the actress, the character is informed by the #MeToo movement. She said, “Yeah, and for me in life, that’s not unusual. I don’t see that as aberrant. I get that in TV and in a lot of our media women haven’t been depicted in that way, and I find that deeply disturbing.” But Sean Penn disagreed with her.

According to Penn, “I’d like to think that none of it was influenced by what they call the movement of #MeToo. I think it’s influenced by the things that are developing in terms of the empowerment of women who’ve been acknowledging each other and being acknowledged by men.” He went on to say, “The spirit of much of what has been the #MeToo movement is to divide men and women.”

Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone
Sean Penn and co-star Natascha McElhone at the premiere of Hulu’s new show The First. Rachel Murray / Getty Images

His co-star disagreed, saying, “Women would say it’s uniting women.”

According to Glamour, the #MeToo movement started in October 2017 after The New York Times published a report that detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Several other women then came forward with their own experiences against Weinstein. About a week later, he was fired from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Since then, the #MeToo movement has continued to gain momentum — thousands of other women have felt empowered to come forward about their own experiences. Many reports have been made against several high-profile men in politics, media, business, and Hollywood. Sexual harassment in the workplace is not a new concept, yet due to the #MeToo movement it has gained wider attention. And, according to Penn, he believes that this is a good thing.

“Of course it’s terrific that they’ve put a spotlight on it. But now, it’s we need to go to the places where this is happening behind closed doors, and it’s not exposed and those voices aren’t being heard.”