Sean Penn was among those in attendance on the fifth day of the U.S. Congress’ January 6 committee hearings, surprising onlookers.
Penn, 61, was spotted by cameras during the televised event on Thursday which took place at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The Academy Award-winning actor sat next to former Capitol Police officer Michael Fanone, who resigned from the force after being beaten by the insurrectionist mob at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges. Hodges was crushed in a door by rioters in a horrific moment captured on video broadcast around the world.
Actor Sean Penn sits with D.C. and Capitol Police officers at the fifth public January 6th committee hearing. pic.twitter.com/SkS9sdVDmx
— The Recount (@therecount) June 23, 2022
Penn told CNN reporter Annie Grayer that he was attending the hearing “to observe.” Describing himself as “just another citizen,” the actor added, “I think we all saw what happened on January 6, and now we’re looking to see if justice comes on the other side of it.”
Sean Penn in attendance at Jan. 6 hearing. Says: “I’m just here to observe — just another citizen.” Penn: “I think we all saw what happened on January 6 and now we're looking to see if justice comes on the other side of it,” per @AnnieGrayerCNN pic.twitter.com/g5TnEc3ZVj
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 23, 2022
Shortly after news of Penn’s presence at the hearing broke, the actor began trending on Twitter in the U.S. and remained a popular subject on the social media platform for the remainder of the afternoon.
One of Hollywood’s most politically active and activist stars, Penn condemned former President Trump for his role in fomenting the January 6 attack shortly after it happened. “Hell hath no fury like a narcissist scorned,” Penn tweeted at the time.
Hell hath no fury like a narcissist scorned.
— Sean Penn (@SeanPenn) January 6, 2021
Penn has also taken his interest in politics to his on-screen work. He recently starred in the TV series “Gaslit”, which focuses on the Watergate break-in scandal that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation. Ironically, Thursday’s hearing focused on how, just like Nixon, President Trump sought to strong-arm the U.S. Justice Department into helping him politically. Many outlets have reported that Trump went even further than Nixon by trying to use the Department of Justice to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost.
Penn’s presence in D.C. followed his months-long campaign to help Ukraine as it has suffered the onslaught of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. He was also in Ukraine on February 24 when Russian forces moved into the country while he was filming a documentary about attacks on his organization Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE). The aid org provides relief to refugees on the frontlines.