Sean Penn has been actively helping relief efforts in Haiti, but his work has not always been celebrated — in fact, it’s being criticized. In an interview with correspondent Lara Logan on CBS News’ Sunday Morning, the Oscar-winning actor sends a message to the cynics of celebrities who are helping Haiti that’s perhaps equally as cynical.
More than $1 million in aid has been provided to Haiti and it all started with the help of Sean’s friend, businesswoman Diana Jenkins.
“I just ran into her at a cocktail party, and said… what I was intending to do,” he explains to CBS News in an interview to air this weekend. “And so, she decided to support it.”
Did Diana just say, ‘Here’s a million bucks?’ “
“Yeah,” Sean confirms. “So, we were able to just say yes, yes, yes on things, and we were able to get X-ray machines, and ventilators, and do all kinds of things… I was just able to make decisions and bring things in.”
So how did the actor bring the money into the country? Did he carry it in backpacks?
Actually, yes, initially.
“We don’t do that anymore. We now have a bank account, so no one comes up for cash on the ground in Haiti,” he laughs.
How much has Sean contributed?
“Enough that I’d better get a job soon,” he jokes.
Sean just recently returned to Haiti, but this time he brought along his 16-year-old son, Hopper Jack, and 18-year-old daughter, Dylan.
“No, they’re not on the sightseeing tour. Oh, they’re gonna help. They’re gonna be my slaves while we’re there,” Sean jokes of bringing his two kids. “You bet they’re gonna help.”
But, really Sean thinks it’s important his children actively help.
“I think that they’ve had the experience, as I have, that the first person served by service is the server,” he explained. “You know, there’s nobody in the world that isn’t looking for a kind of purpose in life, and tangible purpose is the most immediately recognizable. There’s no time that you’re over there, there’s not something to do to lend a hand.”
As for people cynically saying talking about Sean Penn the movie star traveling and trying to do something? Well, Sean claims it doesn’t make him angry.
“I guess I’ve been so away from it all — and our tent camp in Haiti that I haven’t had an awful lot of time to pay attention to them,” he explains but then adds, “Do I hope that those people die screaming of rectal cancer? Yeah. You know, but I’m not going to spend a lot of energy on it.”
Sean’s interview with Lara will be broadcast this weekend on CBS News’ Sunday Morning anchored by Charles Osgood from 9:00-10:30 a.m., ET!