Sean Penn — who until two weeks ago was in Ukraine shooting a documentary — has tested positive for COVID-19, his Licorice Pizza director, Paul Thomas Anderson, announced during Saturday night’s Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards in Los Angeles. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two-time Oscar winner, 61, was due to present Anderson with a medallion recognizing his DGA nomination at the ceremony, which required attendees to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test result. Actress Leila George, who filed for divorce from Penn last October, took on presenting duties in her estranged husband’s stead.
“Sean tested positive for COVID, which is kind of crazy considering what he’s done for all of us,” Anderson said of Penn and his work toward establishing testing and vaccination sites in underserved L.A. communities in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Like a World War I veteran coming home, slipping on a step. So, it’s a drag not to have him here. It’s a pleasure to work with him and all the actors. It’s the best part of this job that we all have.”
Penn, who told Yahoo Entertainment last August that COVID-19 vaccines “should be mandatory,” is the co-founder of Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), a nonprofit which has provided free COVID-19 tests and administered more than 2 million vaccines. CORE’s work has also involved responding to natural disasters and global emergencies, including Haiti and, currently, the Ukraine refugee crisis.
It’s the latter, and not his own health, that seems to be occupying Penn’s mind. On Saturday night the actor and director, who was able to leave Ukraine via Poland amid the Russian invasion, took to Twitter to urge followers to watch the HBO series Chernobyl, describing it as a “X-ray snapshot of willful misinformation campaigns of the Russian government.” Over the past month Penn has been speaking out about the Ukraine crisis, most recently calling on the United States and Poland to supply the country with jets.
Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to Penn’s representative for comment.