Sean Penn and Ben Stiller Were Just Banned From An Entire Country
Well, we hope they were planning to go somewhere else for vacation.
According to a new report from Deadline, actors Sean Penn and Ben Stiller were among 25 “high-ranking officials representatives of the business and expert communities, as well as cultural figures” banned in Russia today. The report notes that Senators Rick Scott, Mark Kelley, Pat Toomey, Kevin Kramer, and Krysten Sinema, among others, have also been banned from the country. The Russian Foreign Ministry has stated that the list is based on the “principle of reciprocity.” Stiller had visited the Ukrainian refugees in Poland in June, while Penn traveled to Ukraine earlier in the year to meet with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and to film a documentary regarding the conflict in Russia for Vice. During his time in the country, Penn wrote on social media about the Ukraine residents and their showing courage in a time of turmoil.
Sean Penn and Ben Stiller’s Russian ban is another sign of the ongoing widening rift between the United States and Russia. Stiller’s visit to Poland came after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which left millions of people stranded without a home and forced to flee from the war-torn country. The Zoolander star met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to help ease the tension during that time. He visited as an ambassador for the United Nations refugee agency. Stiller was appointed UNHCR goodwill ambassador in July 2018 and showed great appreciation for the Ukrainian citizens and their president, calling Zelenskyy “amazing.” The two even found common ground with their shared love for the entertainment industry, with Zelenskyy once playing a Ukrainian President in a popular television show long before he was elected as the country’s real-life President in 2019.
As of this writing, neither Sean Penn nor Ben Stiller has commented on the situation. Penn, a two-time Oscar winner, tried recording a documentary in the country in February. However, he was forced to flee on foot as the war worsened. Penn has been a vocal supporter of Zelenskyy since he met the Ukrainian leader this past summer. Additionally, Zelenskyy has publicly thanked Penn for his efforts and support. In regards to Russia, they have denied targeting civilians in what is called a “special military operation” in order to protect Ukraine’s Russian speakers from facing prosecution. The sanctions reportedly are said to freeze any Russian assets those on the list may have, prohibit Russian citizens from doing business with them, and prevent any traveling to the country. In response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, the west has imposed a barrage of personal and economic sanctions on Russia for the time being.
Sean Penn and Ben Stiller’s ban may’ve been inevitable, considering the state Ukraine’s in. During a Fox News panel discussion in April, Penn opened up about being told by a National Security Advisor to flee the country. According to the actor, he was told to “get the f*uck out” while trying to film his documentary. Penn’s humanitarian efforts are well documented, having interviewed drug kingpin El Chapo and traveling to Iran to cover the War on Terror. While Penn and Stiller’s ban will prevent them from traveling to Ukraine, their efforts and contributions will surely still be felt amongst its citizens.