Sean Penn: Death to Haiti Relief Critics

In this photo provided by Joe Shalmoni, US actor Sean Penn, right, shakes hands with an earthquake survivor as members of the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps look on, during his visit to their field hospital set up after the Jan. 12 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Joe Shalmoni) NO SALES, MANDATORY CREDIT
AP Photo/Joe Shalmoni

Actor Sean Penn has little use for those who disparage his work to bring relief to the victims of the January 12 Haitian earthquake.

In an interview with CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan to be broadcast this weekend on CBS' "Sunday Morning," the Academy Award-winning actor addresses cynics who decry the efforts of celebrities to bring attention to the Haitians' plight:

LARA LOGAN: Does it make you angry when people talk about, you know, 'Sean Penn, the Hollywood star, the movie star, coming in and trying to do something,' and they're kind of cynical about it?


LOGAN: Do you hate that question?

PENN: No. I guess I've been so away from it all, [in] our tent camp in Haiti, that I haven't had an awful lot of time to pay attention to them. You know, do I hope that those people die screaming of rectal cancer? Yeah, you know, but I'm not going to spend a lot of energy on it.

Penn recently returned to Haiti with his 16-year-old son, Hopper Jack, and 18-year-old daughter, Dylan. Penn said the two were not simply on a sightseeing tour.

"Oh, they're going to help! They're going to be my slaves while we're there!" he laughed. "You bet they're going to help."

"Why are you taking your children there?" Logan asked.

"I think that they've had the experience, as I have, that the first person served by service is the server," Penn said. "You know, there's nobody in the world that isn't looking for a kind of purpose in life, and tangible purpose is the most immediately recognizable."

He also said Americans should be really proud about the United States' relief efforts in Haiti: "And pride is an obligation to avoid shame later."

In the interview Penn also discusses the more than $1 million in aid provided to Haiti, which began with the help of his friend, businesswoman Diana Jenkins.

"I just ran into her at a cocktail party and said what I was intending to do," he said. "And so she decided to support it."

"She said, 'Here's a million bucks'?" Logan asked.

"Yeah. So, we were able to just say 'Yes, yes, yes' on things. We were able to get X-ray machines and ventilators, and do all kinds of things. . . . I was just able to make decisions and bring things in."

"How did you take the money in? Suitcases of cash?" Logan asked.

"We took a lot of cash in, yeah, into the country," he said.

"Literally, what did you put it in? Carry it in backpacks?"


"That's amazing. So, there you are wandering the earthquake zone in Haiti with backpacks of cash?"

"We don't do that anymore!" he said." We now have a bank account, so no one comes up for cash on the ground in Haiti."

"How much of it has been your money?"

"Enough that I'd better get a job soon," he laughed. "

Penn, who won the Best Actor Oscar last year for his performance in "Milk," is scheduled to be a presenter at this year's Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday evening.

Watch the complete interview with Penn on CBS' "Sunday Morning," Sunday, March 7 at 9:00 a.m. ET/PT, hosted by Charles Osgood.

Rand Morrison is the executive producer.