Sean Penn stokes Falklands furor; critic says his films are 'turkeys'

Sean Penn and Argentina's president. Penn is causing a flap with his comments on the Falklands
Sean Penn has opened his mouth again about the Falklands, this time criticizing the deployment of Britain's Prince William to the islands. And the British are bristling -- particularly media outlets, with one telling the actor to "shut up."

The Daily Mail, not known for keeping its opinions to itself, referred to the "left-leaning actor" and his "smug" grin.

Pushing for diplomatic talks between Britain and Argentina, Penn said Tuesday, "The world today is not going to tolerate any kind of ludicrous and archaic commitment to colonialist ideology."

British Falklands War veterans considered his comments "moronic," reported the Telegraph on Wednesday, citing a quote from the Daily Mail by a former army officer: "A good number" of Penn's films "have been turkeys, so I suppose we shouldn't expect much better."

Penn lashed out at the British media Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, saying his comments the day before had been misconstrued and that the media were pushing for war instead of diplomacy.

Penn's comments, made during a South American tour, may be adding to the growing tension between the two nations as the 30th anniversary of Argentina's failed April 2, 1982, invasion of the Falklands Islands nears. Argentina claims the British-held territory, which it calls the Malvinas.

Penn raised more hackles Tuesday night, saying it was "unthinkable" that Britain would "deploy a prince within the military to the Malvinas."

Last week, Argentina, unhappy with what it sees as militarization of the Falklands by the British, lodged a formal protest with the United Nations.

Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Marcos Timerman told reporters last week that Britain had increased its naval power in the southern Atlantic "fourfold," according to the Voice of America. Timerman claimed that Britain's arsenal there included fighter jets and a nuclear submarine.

At a later news conference, British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant dismissed Argentina's charges as "absurd," the VOA said.

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-- Amy Hubbard in Los Angeles

Photo: President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina and actor Sean Penn at the government palace in Buenos Aires on Monday. Credit: Associated Press

 
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