Sean Penn responds to Wyclef
September 7th, 2010
01:47 PM ET

Sean Penn responds to Wyclef

It’s been weeks since Wyclef Jean announced his intention to run for president of Haiti – and was subsequently not approved to do so – but the musician still appears to be locked in a "he said, he said" with actor and activist Sean Penn.

The latest back-and-forth between the two was sparked on Friday, when Jean let loose a few incendiary lyrics towards Penn while performing at a concert in New York.

“I got a message for Sean Penn,” Jean sang, “Maybe he ain't see me in Haiti because he was too busy sniffing cocaine.”

(Penn wrote a piece on Huffington Post in late August asserting that he hadn't seen Jean during the country’s rebuilding efforts after the earthquake. “I was there for those 6 months after the earthquake and so many of us on the ground wondered where he was when that kind of attention was so necessary and absent, and why he was NOT helping to keep this desperate situation in the news,” he wrote.)

In response to Jean’s performance, Penn said in a statement via his rep, “Mr. Jean is clearly unfamiliar with the physical demands put upon volunteers in Haiti. As aid workers there, the notion of depleting the body’s immune system thru [sic] the use of illicit drugs is ludicrous.”

The statement went on, “More specifically, J/P Haitian Relief Organization (a.k.a. JPHRO) has a ZERO tolerance policy for any and all illegal drugs. As the leader of this organization, Sean Penn has not only set this policy, but adheres to it. That Mr. Jean would make such a false accusation is reckless and saddening, but not surprising.”

But the 50-year-old star wasn’t the only person Jean took aim at during his performance. He also went after former bandmate Pras, who said he supported Jean's opponent.

"I got a message for Praswell," Jean sang. "Even though you don't want to support me, I got love for you, even though you only kicked 8 bars in the Fugees."

Filed under: Celebrities • Music

soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. true love and compassion

    World Vision is an devoted organization helping people all ove the world. They are reliable, caring, and honest. Please check them out. They have been working in Haiti way before the quake and will continue to work there. Even Sean Penn mentioned them on a cnn interview.

    September 27, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. truth

    wyclef is a us federal agent. do a half hour of google research. it's all there.

    September 26, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cheep Cheep

    do you know that Sean Penn's ex wife "Madonna" and her daughter have a new clothing line at Macy's? There was even a dance party Madonna style in the store on 34th street this week to promote it. It turns out all of the "Material Girl" clothes being sold, were made in sweatshops in fricking China ( go to Macy's and check out the labels). Sweat shops in China-imports of course.
    Hey you-did ya happen to catch the Live Earth crap with Sean Penn's ex wife and charity B.S. a few years back with those "shocking" video images for consumers to watch on poor people in third world countries?

    September 25, 2010 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. silentpurr

    Please Mr. Jean, try to see. You are not what Haiti needs at this time.
    Maybe when she is all put back together and healthy could she deal with the likes of your style of 'governance': Party! Party! Party! No!
    Right now, what is needed is sincere dedication and commitment to the cause of rebuilding Haiti.

    September 14, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jean-Marc

    I don't know whether Penn does drugs or not, and frankly I couldn't care less. Nor would I care if Wyclef did drugs. Bottom line for me is: I saw Penn on CNN devoting his time and effort in a country other than his own. I didn't see Wyclef. Maybe he was there – I don't know – but for someone who had wanted to become the President of Haiti, he should be able to better understand what message is sent to voters by the fact that he was not visible. Besides, if he was really there, it shouldn't be difficult to demonstrate that fact, now should it? The back & forth between the 2 of them is just petty and immature in my humble opinion, never mind who is right.

    September 8, 2010 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. Natch

    Why the long face, Sean??

    September 8, 2010 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ernest

    I have always liked Wyclef and his music but never supported him to be president. He needed to be schooled in "gentlemanliness" before then. In thoughts and now in deeds he has indicated he has no civil training. And people if you are addicted to drugs and u can abstain for 6 months then you are saved. Logically Mr. Penn does not do drugs. That means the reasoning faculty of a president that never was (Wyclef) needs some tuning up like his Guitar.

    September 8, 2010 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Alan

    He wants to be Pa Pa Wyclef Doc. Has he fathered a few baby Wyclefs yet?

    September 8, 2010 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. Amber

    Watch ghosts of soleil after seeing that movie nobody wants to be the President
    but Wyclef knows Haiti and can see Haiti rise out of the ashes and become something great.
    Presidency in Haiti is very dangerous I think alot of people have misjudged Wyclef

    September 8, 2010 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. Don't pan Penn

    OK, so I actually took a missions trip to Haiti and spent a week with the 50,000 homeless people in the tent city that Sean set up. This guy is pretty amazing, and has the courage and guts to actually walk out his beliefs. When he's in Haiti, he sleeps in a tent on a tennis court that overlooks the tent city that is built on a former golf course. He has brought compassion, care and consideration to so many and really deserves a nobel prize – this is REAL humanitarian work. Don't pan him – if saw what he's done in that tent city, you'd be amazed!

    September 8, 2010 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. Deedee

    I like WJ as a musician but NOT for president. Haitian people need a leader and not someone that thinks that birth place gives one the right to run for office.
    I have seen less WJ in Haiti than any other celebrity!
    And he if really wanted to be part of Haiti's politics he should be in Haiti working (a bit harder) to help the country, not in NYC performing!

    WJ you just lost a fan! Congrats for being an idiot!

    September 8, 2010 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tracy

    This clearly demonstrates why Jean lacked the leadership skills and maturity to lead Haiti.

    September 8, 2010 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  13. DENNIS

    MR Sean Penn, you do not need to say anything, your ACTIONS saids it all. GREAT JOB MAN and please make another good movie.

    September 8, 2010 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. cindy

    Penn conducted himself with dignity and class by not stooping to Jean's low level.

    September 7, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kevin Duffy

    My ex knows you Jean and has only great things to say about you. I also have you on my playlists. But this is disappointing and does change my opinion of you. Your conduct is not only unbecoming a leader but frankly immature. Penn's response was dignified as well as factual, and if your prior band-mates performance was lacking, a mature response would be a private one.

    September 7, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  16. lakay

    As haitian I want Wicleef Jean to know and to keep in his empty brain that the elite of Haiti would never take as our leader. With no education , come on Wicleef, please stop making a fool of yourself
    I am sure the next person you are going to name in your lousy song maybe the Pope or Bill Clinton etc etc.
    Kudo to Sean Pean. Wicleef is lost cause.

    September 7, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  17. JO

    I love how Penn get's his hands dirty for the good of the Haiti people while the man who is a native and wants to so desperetely be president sits around strumming a guitar (probably a rock throw away from is deluxe hotel suite) and complaining about not getting support while his people suffer. Wyclef For President.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Jean Penn

    I would like to think that there are more important things to worry about. Thank you media for covering something so obtusely unimportant. Good job to Penn AND Jean for what they have contributed to a country in such dire need, and keep working. Also if Jean isn't qualified for a pres term, so what? It's still your country, put your politics aside and do what needs to be done.

    September 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  19. jones

    Penn is right on this one. Penn was on the ground in Haiti for six months. (And Haiti is a pit) Jean was in a Hotel in New York.

    September 7, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  20. TK

    This is better than the Rosie and Donald fued.

    September 7, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  21. les hommes Noirs

    Mr Jean is hundred percent right.I think all the pompous Americans that think Mr.Madonna is doing a great job or other ONG companies as well are really ignorant. On the other hands, they are collecting funds to their pockets.In fact, they are afraid to let Mr. Jean explains to the HAITIAN PEOPLE the real dilemma.Apres tout, we understand , as anytime you decide not to sleep with the devil,they will come with a strategy to destroy your image at any cost. My Dear Mr. Jean, We love you, we Adore you. Blue and red for life.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  22. les hommes Noirs

    Mr Jean is hundred percent right.I think all the pompous Americans that think Mr.Madonna is doing a great job or other ONG companies as well are really ignorant. On the other hands, they are collecting funds to their pockets.In fact, they are afraid to let Mr. Jean explains to the HAITIAN PEOPLE the real dilemma.Apres tout, we understand , as anytime you decide to sleep with the devil,they will come with a strategy to destroy your image at any cost. My Dear Mr. Jean, We love you, we Adore you. Blue and red for life.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al3

      Shut Up
      Respect The man for what he is doing
      as an Haitian Born person i would love to meet Sean Penn one day and thank him
      I did nt know he would do so much
      whether he does cocaine or not that s his business
      he seems to be doing good for a coke head i think most of you are ignorant than again ignorancy can be found anwhere
      Sean Penn deserves to be elected as President

      September 13, 2010 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  23. mizsherle

    He has himself proven what a whimsical and self serving notion he had in even considering that he might be president. No one else even needed to say anything. But he's certainly gotten himself plenty of publicity, which in the end, was probably the outcome he wanted.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  24. c a skinner

    Two losers going at each other....gotta love it. Grow up little boys.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Ben

    Sean Penn is such a method actor that he is not the president of haiti. That's why is is mad at what's his face.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  26. asa

    "I got a message for Praswell," Jean sang. "Even though you don't want to support me, I got love for you, even though you only kicked 8 bars in the Fugees."

    September 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Tevii

    Trying to deflect concerns of his absence in the Haitian relief effort by making stupid juvenile attacks in a song just show that perhaps he isnt the man for the job. Any leader will have opposition, so confront the opposition, prove that you're the man for the job. But because he didnt, it just proves Penn was making valid points that he couldnt defend. And I tend to think Penn is a pompous ass.

    September 7, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  28. RW

    I don't agree with 100% of Sean Penn's actions but his has been walking the walk. He has made serious positive contributions to his fellow man. Wyclef is a 0. He is an ignorant fool who hasn't taken the first step in making a positive contribution. Haiti deserves so much more.

    September 7, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  29. JJ

    Nice grammar Wyclef. Sure you can be president...I'll take drug use over uneducated any day. What a loser.

    September 7, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Buck

    Damn, Penn is UGLY!

    September 7, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • YP

      Sean is far from Ugly, unlike your comment. It is so rare to see someone that doesn't have to, do so much for others. The ugly people are those that call Sean ugly and only losers call him a loser. He is a bigger winner than any of you, the people of Haiti I hope, appreciate him more than you could ever understand. Those making negative comments should ask, what have I done for Haiti, in fact ask yourself what have you ever done to help or uplift anyone?

      September 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Back

      So are you and your poor soul...

      September 8, 2010 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  31. JMC

    Neither one of them is someone to respect. One is all talk and the other talks too much! As far as Penn is concerned, he is a highly over-rated actor (who has Madonna to thank for getting him noticed in Hollywood) who looks like a miserable drunk. Hope he stays in Haiti or Cuba or Venezeula, take your pick!

    September 7, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • What have you done?

      Were you in Haiti helping people? Getting dirty when you don't have to?

      Sure he has the money, sure he had a little help from Madonna, blablabla...

      At least he's using all that he has received to give back to others when needed. Grow up!

      September 8, 2010 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
    • JMC

      @ What.....
      You really need to get on some meds so you can calm down a bit. It's my opinion of Penn and if you don't like it.....too friggin bad!!! He's still a jerk and I'm sure you two have a lot in common :p LOL

      September 8, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  32. ufadoof

    Whether Penn does or does not do coke is irrelevant to the debate. What is relevant is WJ's statements which show his true ignorance of political discourse. Maybe he could be a dictator but could never be a leader.

    September 7, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  33. F-Wyclef

    wyclef can take shots at penn all he wants but penn wasn't running for office... wyclef scammed people who donated money to a good cause. it's only right that he wasn't allowed to run for prez – it would be the LAST thing Haiti needs after all the people have been through...

    i'm sure he'll continue to make a good living here in the US as there are plenty of idiots willing to turn a blind-eye to his abuse of the system...

    September 7, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nice!

      I couldn't have said it better myself! Mr. Jean is a poster child for lazy people that expect everything be handed to them. Why don't you move back to Haiti for good so I don't have to read another story about how much of an idiot you are.

      September 7, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  34. MichaelChatt

    I don't tend to like Sean very much, he is usually so far to the left it hurts to much to look all the way over there. However that said, he has been pationately promoting and working to resolve the issue in Haiti. I have a respect for him now that I never did before. Wyclef had a chance to help huge numbers of people and press the condition of the country to the main stream. However it looks like his agenda shifted quickly to what can I get out of this situation? How can I leverage all this suffering into money and power? Sean doesn't seem to care much for the thought process. I for one think it suggests Wyclef might be just the guy they need if maintaining normal politics in Haiti is a goal. Maybe he would Rap out new laws or introduce east coast, west coast drive by politics? It's a shame so many people are out there trying to save the country and he is stepping up to profit.

    September 7, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Minasaywhat

    Actions speak louder than words, Wycelf. Sean clearly has more actions to speak of in Haiti than you do, so I'd put your foot in your mouth for the time being. The accusations and bickering only makes you look more like a fool.

    September 7, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  36. cayenne

    let's face it, Wyclef's is just ghtetto, he cant help it... glad he didnt get to run, he's ignorant.

    September 7, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  37. gskorich

    there is talk that this person mis appropriated funds, really? he keeps saying the truth will come out but what he really means is that people will forget about it and the truth wont matter. i think most artists whould be like kylie minogue and do their job. she isn't political, she supports certain charities but her fame hasn't gone to her head. maybe if wyclef were to run for a smaller office first, like on his condo board. then he can tackle a country

    September 7, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  38. DeeWA2010

    That does it for me... I didn't send money to Wyclef's charity after the quake, sent some to President Clinton's instead, and NOW I KNOW I MADE THE RIGHT DECISION. Wasn't SURE about Wyclef's charity, BUT was/am SURE about Clinton's. Now, I hope Sean SUES him. What an egotistical idiot!

    September 7, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • suzanne harris

      Another very reputable organization for making donations that go directly to the needs of the Haitian people is Partners in Health. Paul Farmer, MD, has been working in Haiti for years. You can read about him and his work in Haiti in Tracy Kidder's marvelous book MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS, The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World.

      September 7, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Bert

    Sorry Wyclef, I believe Penn on this one. I saw him day after day on CNN after the earthquake I did not see Wyclef.

    September 7, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Wally

    I doubt Penn has been doing a bunch of coke, it's obvious that he's been working his tail off trying to help rebuild Haiti, while Wyclef does the same thing he's been doing for years, talking trash and burning bridges, and not doing a thing to help the cause he supposedly stands for.
    And even if Penn WAS doing coke, who cares, he's still down there putting his blood, sweat, and tears into the rebuilding effort.

    September 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • fifi

      Yes, I think you said it all. No one can dispute the work Sean Penn has done in Haiti, & he showed a lot of courage in speaking against Jean's attempt to run for president. Haiti doesn't need more charlatans in office.

      September 7, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  41. jpip

    Did anyone notice that Penn's response only refuted doing drugs while engaged in relief work in Haiti??? 😀

    September 7, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ariel

      Good observation.... maybe wyclef knows something we don't.

      September 7, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alek

      Actually, he attacked the argument by pointing to the fact that it would have been incredibly difficult to get away with using coke while working with the Hatians. It gives his argument a lot more weight than a simple denial.

      September 7, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ginger

      Maybe this explains why Sean was out there very actively working to help the people. Could this explain why WJ wasn't?

      September 7, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Lilith

    I am actually relieved he wasn't allowed to run this time. Sadly, I feel the Hatian people would have supported this guy. The way he handled his charity is a strong indication of what kind of President he would be. Like all the rest. Senn did good to call him out.

    September 7, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  43. G-unit

    I dunno about Wyclef, but Sean is a jerk, he supports Hugo Chavez, obviously he hasn't spent any time in Venezuela or he would know that Chavez has sucked the life out of that country, sorry Seam but stick to what your good at.

    September 7, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Kelly

      Penn=Hollywood=bimbo=drug addict=Liberal I believe the lyrics.

      September 7, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Ballz

    Sounds like he has the typical mentality. How could you butt heads against Penn??? He's the poster child for calm.

    September 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  45. donald p

    Sean could have handled that original interview better but Im on his side. Wyclef seems way more talk than action out of the 2.

    September 7, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Missing parts of the story

    The comments where made during a concert where lyrics for My President where changed to take shots at Penn and Pras. It was pretty harmless.

    September 7, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • kim

      harmless, but immature-not exactly the best trait in presidential material. not that the bar has been set very high in haiti. being president of haiti right now is more impossible than the disasters that Obama and the dems are having to clean up after 8 years of fascist rethugs!

      right-wing republicans = fascist.

      TURN OFF THE PROPAGANDA-–AKA FOX "NEWS", owned by hard-core conservative, america-hating Wahabbist muslim, btw. and you call US unpatriotic, you FOXIES are getting your news from folks who truly DO "pal around with terrorists and you are responsible for the downfall of this once-great country with your lemming non-thinking ways!

      September 8, 2010 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  47. DJAY

    WJ, keep laundering that money, brah. The more illegal activity you engage in, the more qualified you'll be to be president.

    September 7, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Kelly

      Penn=Hollywood=Bimbos=drugs=Liberals....I tend to believe the lyrics!

      September 7, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • kim

      jeff kelly,

      sometimes i truly envy you non-thinkers, living in your black-and-white world that takes zero critical thought. but then i remember the cost--NO empathy, compassion, knowledge, patriotism, strength and it's just not worth it!

      September 8, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottie V

      Kim, while I don't know what patriotism has to do with empathy and compassion, but I agree with the point you make. I don't see how anyone could possibly believe that every.single.person. in Hollywood would be like that. Also, the more I hear about ol' Wyclef, the less I like him. He comes across as an arrogant jerk who is throwing a temper tantrum because he was(rightly so) denied an ad-campaign presidency nomination. LOL at saying he's got love for Praswell in the same breath as dissing him. This guy is two-faced, and whiny, and I'm glad(for Haiti's sake) that he was denied.

      September 8, 2010 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  48. Fu-G

    How is he supposed to convince anyone he can be the leader of an entire country when he can't even maintain civil diplomacy in the entertainment industry? Maybe a rap beef is not the best campaign stragety their, Wy.

    September 7, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      This comment is exactly how I feel. Bravo!

      September 7, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • kim

      nathalie, the guy's just spent the past 6 months or so in the most god-forsaken country in the western hemisphere--and that's what it was like BEFORE the earthquake.

      i'm not a fan of sean penn's outside of his acting, but you've got to respect someone who is living in hell to help fellow human beings. your comment is as lame and ignorant as wyclef's!!

      September 8, 2010 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
    • JR

      Take a look at that country, and name anyone who has ever been up to running a country in a remotely appropriate manner. I was a part of the force that was to invade Haiti back in 94 in order to quell an uprising by their military leader who ousted their president. This happened like 3 time in ten years until the pres(THE SAME PRES) was finaly told we would no longer support him or offer him assylum. This country was totaly jacked up long before an earthquake tried to take it off the map. I can't possibly see how it could look or be any worse than it was before.

      September 8, 2010 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Al3

      Ever since i saw Wyclef with that Muslim Guy Farrikahn in a big Mosque i knew he would lead HAITI the wrong way
      any body that would listen to Farrikhan with his ignorant Bollox is a fool
      when i was a young kid in Haiti when the Americans would either come to our church we kids used to love seing them because they would give us toys and candies and other things we loved them as a small children
      we also knew Americans meant two things you either gonna cry because they are in town to either inflict pain which means they might be a dentist or a doctor
      or to bring joy either tourist or helping out or working on a project or to put things in order
      if i had to choose who should run for president between Sean Penn or Wyclef i would say
      Sean Penn for President

      September 13, 2010 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |

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