Los Angeles, March 27 Standing up to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, actor-director Sean Penn has said that he will publicly “smelt” his statuettes from the awards body if they elect against asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to speak during the live telecast of Sunday evening’s ceremony, reports ‘Variety’.
In a broadcast interview with CNN, Penn opined that the Academy has an obligation to offer President Zelenskyy a platform to speak on Ukraine’s struggles as the country continues to combat invasion by Russian military forces.
He said in the interview, “There is nothing greater that the Academy Awards could do than to give (Zelenskyy) an opportunity to talk to all of us. It is my understanding that a decision has been made not to do it. That is not me commenting on whether or not President Zelenskyy had wanted to.”
Penn, who has won two Oscars in the past for his films, ‘Mystic River’ and ‘Milk’, has devoted himself to operations around the Russian military invasion of Ukraine in recent weeks. In February, he was on the ground in Ukraine filming a documentary about the Russian invasion for Vice Studios.
The actor has also spoken with President Zelenskyy on several occasions in the past month and is currently positioned in Poland as the country accepts Ukrainian refugees.
He further said that if the Academy declines to pursue the Ukrainian leadership, it will be the most obscene moment in the history of Hollywood.
“If the (Academy has) elected not to pursue the leadership in Ukraine, who are taking bullets and bombs for us, along with the Ukrainian children that they are trying to protect, then I think every single one of those people and every bit of that decision will have been the most obscene moment in all of Hollywood history.”
Though he expressed his hope that the Academy had not come to a decision of that nature, he urged the attendees to boycott the awards ceremony if the organizing committee elects to forgo reaching out to Zelenskyy regarding a speech during the telecast.
“If it comes back to it, I will smelt mine in public. I pray that’s not what’s happened. I pray there have not been arrogant people, who consider themselves representatives of the greater good in my industry, that have (decided against checking) with leadership in Ukraine. So I’m just going to hope that that’s not what’s happened. I hope (every attendee) walks out if it is”, he added.