Actor Sean Penn, who in separate TV interviews last week slammed critics of his visits to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his earthquake aid to Haiti, has gotten some support from the South American leader.
Chavez Thursday said he is grateful that the Oscar-winning actor has defended him against his critics within the U.S. media.
In an appearance on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" last week, Penn slammed Chavez critics who refer to the socialist leader as a dictator.
He noted that Chavez has won repeated elections and suggested that media critics who call him a dictator should be jailed.
He says that "there should be a bar for which one goes to prison for these kinds of biases."
Penn has visited Chavez several times and frequently defends the president's leftist political policies.
Chavez welcomed Penn's comments Wednesday and thanked the actor for standing up to his detractors.
In an interview on CBS' "Sunday Morning, March 7, Penn, who was a presenter at that night's Oscar ceremony, told correspondent Lara Logan what he thought of thosewho are critical of his recent efforts in Haiti to aid those affected by the earthquake.
"Do I hope that those people die screaming of rectal cancer? Yeah," he said, "you know, but I'm not going to spend a lot of energy on it."