Thandiwe Newton isn’t here for any of Sean Penn’s lame musings about masculinity in American men, and she’s letting him know it on Twitter. The Westworld actress pulled absolutely no punches on Sunday when she roasted the Flag Day director for spouting off about gender in the United States in a pair of lengthy statements in which he essentially implied men are starting to act like women for fear of making women feel afraid or adopting any kind of toxicity in their masculinity. Thandiwe Newton issued a response with some disrespectful emojis and even more disrespectful language.
In her tweet, Thandiwe Newton called Sean Penn a “jibbering FOOL” and a “MF.” She implied that she used to find him sexy but, after his very negative and downright backward comments on masculinity, she now sees him as “just tragic.” In a follow-up tweet, Thandiwe Newton further lambasted Sean Penn by shaming him for making his comments in front of his daughter, whom The Independent notes was “quiet” and “staring into space” while he made his various controversial comments.
Penn was speaking to a British newspaper when he, for some reason, began speaking about the concept of men being “feminized.” He argued that he doesn’t feel that acting brutish or other attitudes typically associated with masculinity is necessarily a threat or insensitive to women. He argued that he thinks the younger generation is trying so hard to be sensitive to women that they’re becoming women. If you’re starting to see what Thandiwe Newton was saying when she described him as “tragic,” just wait.
He got the chance to walk back his comments that rose Thandiwe Newton’s ire in an interview he did alongside his daughter, Dylan Penn, about their movie Flag Day with The Independent — yeah, he didn’t do that. Instead, he doubled down on those comments and once again stated that he thinks men in America are being far too feminized, whatever that means. He also seized the opportunity that he knows many “strong women” in his life who don’t find his masculinity a threat. He concluded his obviously stupid tirade with the particularly heinous turn of phrase: “There are a lot of, I think, cowardly genes that lead to people surrendering their jeans and putting on a skirt.”
As People notes, while this is the first time that Thandiwe Newton has called out Sean Penn directly, this isn’t the first time that the actor has said something pretty controversial about gender politics in the United States. He previously criticized the #MeToo movement in 2018, telling Natalie Morales of the Today show that he found the issue to be “too black and white” and essentially implied that not all the women who made allegations against men in power were to be believed. This was a posture held up by many men at the time and, needless to say, it was an awfully suspect one to take. However, it seems Sean Penn didn’t learn anything in the three years since. One can only hope that an absolute roasting by Thandiwe Newton will be enough for him to open his mind this time around.