The “Milk” actor got “fucking furious,” according to Variety, during an interview with the outlet in which he discussed the Oscars’ refusal to allow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to speak at the awards show that year.
“The Oscars producer thought, ‘Oh, he’s not light-hearted enough.’ Well, guess what you got instead? Will Smith!” said Penn, who shot a documentary about the war in Ukraine.
“I don’t know Will Smith. I met him once,” Penn said, adding that he “seemed very nice” and was excellent in “King Richard,” the biopic that landed Smith an Oscar for Best Actor.
“So why the fuck did you just spit on yourself and everybody else with this stupid fucking thing? Why did I go to fucking jail for what you just did? And you’re still sitting there? Why are you guys standing and applauding his worst moment as a person?” he said.
Penn was convicted in 1987 for assaulting an extra on the set of the movie “Colors.” He spent 33 days in jail.
Smith won an Oscar in 2022 after he slapped comedian Chris Rock onstage for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
He has since apologized and resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which banned him from attending the Oscars for 10 years. Rock did not press charges.
Penn, who has two Oscars of his own, told Variety he believed the incident would not have taken place if Zelenskyy had spoken at the event.
“Will Smith would never have left that chair to be part of stupid violence. It never would have happened,” he said.
Penn has a long history of violence himself. He was ordered to undergo anger management counseling in 2010 after he was accused of kicking a photographer and breaking his camera, in one of several altercations with paparazzi over the years.
He also faced a domestic assault charge during his marriage to pop legend Madonna, which ended in divorce in 1989. Both Madonna and Penn have since denied that Penn attacked her.