Sean Penn Believes His ‘Rolling Stone’ Story on Drug Lord “El Chapo” Was a Failure

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Last week El Chapo was re-captured in Mexico after six months on the run, but Mexican officials weren’t the first people of note to come across drug lord El Chapo during his half-year as a fugitive. Storied, Academy Award-winning actor Sean Penn sat with Chapo for a lengthy interview in Mexico for Rolling Stone, meant to highlight Chapo’s alternate views of the “war on drugs” and how the Mexican government has handled it in recent history. All this was orchestrated by a third party, Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, whom Chapo is a huge fan of.

The incredulous reactions and chaotic discussions of the story that followed Rolling Stone‘s running of the article, titled “El Chapo Speaks,” stretched from culture critics on social media to the Mexican government, who alleged that it was Penn’s meeting with Chapo–born Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera–that led them to their recapture of the drug lord.


In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Penn speaks on his experience and intentions with Guzman Loera and Rolling Stone, which he feels have been largely ignored. “I have a regret that the entire discussion about this article ignores its purpose, which was to try to contribute to this discussion about the policy in the War on Drugs. Whether you agree with Sean Penn or not, there is a complicity there, And if you are in the moral right, or on the far left, just as many of your children are doing these drugs. And how much time have they spent in the last week since this article [came out], talking about that? One percent? I think that’d be generous.” He also addressed the perception that he led authorities to Chapo, conceding that he didn’t do anything to outsmart Mexican authorities, but instead acted on intel from a “contact.”

Watch the teaser to the interview above.