Stiller and Penn were named on a list of 25 “high-ranking officials, representatives of the business and expert communities, as well as cultural figures” that can no longer legally enter the country.
Both Stiller and Penn have been active in their support for Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of the Eastern European country. The actors have visited the country, met with leaders and been vocal in their support for Ukraine and opposition of Russia’s attacks.
This year, Penn traveled to Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky while filming a Vice documentary. At the time, he released a statement condemning President Vladimir Putin. “Already a brutal mistake of lives taken and hearts broken, and if he doesn’t relent, I believe Mr. Putin will have made a most horrible mistake for all of humankind. President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people have risen as historic symbols of courage and principle. Ukraine is the tip of the spear for the democratic embrace of dreams. If we allow it to fight alone, our soul as America is lost.”
— Ben Stiller (@BenStiller) June 20, 2022
For his part, Stiller is a longtime advocate and volunteer for the UN Refugee Agency. In June, he flew to Poland to meet with Ukrainian refugees before going on to Kyiv, Ukraine where he also met with President Zelensky as a part of World Refugee Day. At the time, Stiller posted a video to Instagram saying, “I’m meeting people who have been impacted by the war, and hearing how it’s changed their lives. War and violence are devastating people all over the world.”
He continued, “Nobody chooses to flee their homes. Seeking safety is a right and it needs to be upheld for every person.”
In addition to Stiller and Penn, the list of 25 people banned from entering Russia includes Senators Rick Scott, Mark Kelley, Pat Toomey, Kevin Kramer and Krysten Sinema as well as numerous U.S. trade officials, including U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.