Skip to main content

Thandiwe Newton Blasts Sean Penn’s Nonsense About “Feminized” Men

Newton wasn't having whatever Penn was trying to sell.

Thandiwe Newton looking amazing at the Gotham Awards

Sean Penn, in a recent interview, ent on a rant about men and stated, “I am in the club that believes that men in American culture have become wildly feminized… I don’t think that [in order] to be fair to women, we should become them.” Our own Chelsea Steiner’s piece on the strange remarks beautifully highlights what is wrong with Penn’s statement, but we’re hardly alone in condemning this absolutely awful nonsense.

Now, star Thandiwe Newton has responded to Penn’s remarks on Twitter, writing, “Dude what are you saying? Like for real? You’re a jibbering fool…you used to be sexy but now you’re just tragic.” She then went on to point out that Penn was saying these things in front of his daughter, to boot.

What’s so hilariously good about Newton’s response is the fact that she wrote “MF you used to be sexy but now you’re just tragic.” With actors like Penn, many cling to their love of his earlier work as a way of dismissing the problems he causes or who he has since shown himself to be. So, having Newton point out that she used to find him attractive but that it is his words that are making her angry and making him less appealing? That’s just a perfect double twist of the knife.

Sean Penn’s problematic past

Sean Penn has a history of alleged abuse that seems to get pushed to the back burner when the actor has a new movie coming out, and it truly does happen every time. His allegations of assault stretch all the way back to the ’80s, when he was married to Madonna, yet this “checkered” past was left out of the conversation when Penn was nominated for Academy Awards and definitely for his 2 Oscar wins for Mystic River and Milk, both of which came out in the early 2000s.

He has continued to work consistently in Hollywood without anyone stopping him. So, the fact that the Licorice Pizza star is also complaining that American men are “feminized” isn’t that surprising. Penn’s humanitarian work, which his defenders are quick to bring up, doesn’t change the fact that his statement was damaging to so many.

It also doesn’t help advocate for his past either. Seeing “feminized” men as a problem (as he puts it) shows that Penn inherently has a problem with how he views women.

Newton calling him out and pointing out that his horrid take makes him unattractive in her eyes? Truly a chef’s-kiss moment. I’m happy that Newton has called this out, but we need more people telling Penn that his ideas about a “cowardly” gene are incredibly misogynistic. I don’t care how many “strong women” he claims to have in his life who “do not take masculinity as a sign of oppression toward them.” What he said was wrong and harmful, and that’s that.

(image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Gotham Film & Media Institute)

 —The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.