Noted actor, director, and writer has done a lot of crazy, liberal stuff in his day, including his visit to Iraq, his defense of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The list is just too long to post here.
Most of us first became familiar with Penn through his notable performance in the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," playing a stereotypical Southern Californian teenager, forcing those of us who were growing up in Southern California at the time to ask ourselves, "Do we really act that way?"
The answer for most of us was, "Yeah, but who cares?"
|Sean Penn and Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli|
in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"
But, now it seems that he has set his antics aside, both on and off stage, and put his "social activism" to work, for the sake of a religious Jew, Jacob Ostreicher, who has been imprisoned in Bolivia for almost two years.
Times Of Israel: Sean Penn lobbies for haredi man imprisoned in BoliviaI am still in shock, although pleasantly so, and wondering what the news reports must have left out. Does he have some kind of special pull in South America? Was he contacted, and asked to use his influence? Does Penn have ulterior motives? Given his history, what else am I supposed to think?
Actor suggests putting pressure on sponsors of money-making Dakar Rally to reroute race until Jacob Ostreicher freed
May 22, 2013
WASHINGTON (JTA) — Actor Sean Penn urged a congressional hearing to pressure Bolivia to release a haredi Orthodox father of five under house arrest in the country.Penn appeared Monday at a hearing on the case of Jacob Ostreicher of Brooklyn, who has been held nearly two years in Bolivia on accusations that he was in business with drug traffickers and money launderers. No proof has ever been provided in court....
Penn even suggested financial pressure through the re-routing of a big money-making race. Is this just an opportunity to cancel a polution creating race through potentially, environmentally sensitive areas? Farfetched, perhaps, but I do not know what to think!
...Penn urged Congress to write letters to the corporate sponsors of the Dakar Rally motorcycle race, which in 2014 for the first time will go through Bolivia. As the race is a huge moneymaker for the participating countries, Penn said pressure should be exerted on the sponsors to demand the release of Ostreicher.
Jacob Ostreicher with his children
If Ostreicher is not freed, Penn said, the race should be rerouted to avoid Bolivia, depriving it of money and positive publicity....His statement below hammers this idea home.
Is the Bolivian governmental regime far right-wing or far left wing these days? I stopped keeping track when I was a teenager. While my family and I were traveling through South America, Bolivia had three different presidents within the span of one month. If I remember correctly, one of the changeovers was even the result of a coup d'etat, shortly after we left Bolivia.
...The actor said he was “not only personally and thoroughly convinced of Mr. Ostreicher’s innocence, but particularly alarmed by a consensus both among Bolivian officials that the unevidenced prosecution against Jacob Ostreicher was standard operating procedure in the fundamentally corrupt Bolivian judiciary....”
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I ask this, because if it is far-left, then it would not only go against Penn's pattern of pals, but would also be "Hollywood Politically-Incorrect," a fate far worse for actors than just everyday "politically-incorrect." Of course, Penn has the clout to risk. But, why would he?
Is he really just doing the right thing?
And, with that I say a cautious,... If he succeeds in the misswah of pidyon shevuin (redeeming the captive) getting Jacob Ostreicher released, then more power to him,...but not too much.