Tonight (5PM NY time), Sean Penn will betray all his values as a humanitarian activist by joining Sheldon Adelson (GOP $100-million Club), Shmuley Boteach (“America’s Rabbi”), Michael Steinhardt (Birthright co-foounder), Ron Dermer (Israeli ambassador and Bibi confidant), , Sen. Corey Booker, Gov. Chris Christie (Bridgegate) and Rick Perry (Christian evangelical) at Cipriani’s (110 E 42nd Street) in New York, where he will accept a humanitarian award from Boteach’s non-profit group. What, you might ask, gives Boteach et al the ability to judge Penn’s credentials? Aside from the former’s dancing the hora with Hebron settlers and Dr. Oz and running for Congress as a Republican, not much.
So it’s anyone’s guess why Penn is making a move that, if it were Scarlett Johansson, might be career implosion. My guess is that a few millions of Sheldon Adelson’s billions, earned off the misery of gambling addicts worldwide, will funnel into Penn’s Haiti relief charity. So I suppose Adelson’s ill-gotten gains will build a few shelters for poor Haitians and this might be, in Penn’s mind, a suitable justification.
Just in time for the awards dinner, Haaretz published this evisceration of America’s Rabbi’s misogynist sex advice to women the world over:
“Women are not looking just for love in a marriage; they are primarily looking for lust. A woman wants to be wanted, needs to be needed, desires to be desired. A woman does not go into marriage principally to be loved; she goes into marriage to be lusted after…”
A Forward feminist Jewish columnist responded to Boteach with tongue firmly in cheek:
It is heartening to see a rabbi speak for the ladies and dictate what they desire — or should desire….
Haaretz notes another feminist blogger, who accused Boteach of endorsing “rape culture:”
She assigned him a D-plus for both grammar and content and charges it is full of “Grotesque stereotypes, massive overgeneralizations, flawed analysis, unsubstantiated assertions completely false dichotomies and endorsement of rape culture.” Her conclusion: “Basically, your solution for women’s collective waning libido is to hypersexualize her and allow her to be the whore you know she wants to be. Banish her tired functionality with your open lust for her. That will make her whole! Sadly, this essay is … filled with reductive reasoning and closeted misogyny.”
Allison Kaplan Sommer closes her column with this advice to the advisor the stars, which Penn might want to take to heart as well:
Surely, there’s no shortage of troubled Hollywood stars in need of a spiritual adviser, minor celebrities who need a tour guide in Israel – or maybe another office in New Jersey Boteach can unsuccessfully run for on Sheldon Adelson’s dime. Anything to get this guy out of our beds.
Sheldon Adelson and Shmuley Boteach represent everything that is wrong with American politics and the self-help phenomenon. That’s what Sean Penn is buying into.
I wanted to be sure Penn personally knew of my campaign against the award. I e mailed his publicist twice and even asked a mutual friend to communicate my concerns. The friend assured me Penn knows my views and the implication of his message was that Penn would go forward with this travesty.
You have a few hours to sign the Change.org petition (246 signatures so far) seeking to publicize this awful betrayal of everything good that Penn stands for. One signatory wrote this message about Penn:
A man of this stature, influence, talent and intelligence should never put himself and his good name in jeopardy by associating with these bandits and thieves.
There is also a Facebook group for those of us who want to show further commitment to the cause.
The next time you go to a Sean Penn film, if you can do so after this fiasco, ask yourself how an actor this gifted can engage in an act so creepy and still be able to look himself in the eye (or mirror).