Penn, who has been in Ukraine and Poland filming a documentary on the suffering of immigrants, said on CNN that if the Academy refused to give Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy a platform at Sunday night’s ceremony, he would publicly melt his Oscar statuettes.
“There is nothing greater that the Academy Awards could do than to give [Zelenskiy] an opportunity to talk to all of us,” Penn said.“It is my understanding that a decision has been made not to do it. That is not me commenting on whether or not President Zelenskiy had wanted to.”
Penn was seen in Ukraine shortly after Russian soldiers stormed the nation last month, when he was filming a documentary for Vice about the war. After that, the actor traveled to Poland, which is where the vast majority of those escaping the conflict first arrived.
“If it comes back to it, I will smelt mine in public,” Penn said. “I pray that’s not what’s happened. I pray there have not been arrogant people, who consider themselves representatives of the greater good in my industry, that have [decided against checking] with leadership in Ukraine. So I’m just going to hope that that’s not what’s happened. I hope [every attender] walks out if it is.”
Following confirmation that if no contact to Zelenskiy had been made to appear at the event, Penn has called for a broad boycott of the event to be staged.
Penn suggested that if the Academy had “elected not to pursue the leadership in Ukraine, who are taking bullets and bombs for us, along with the Ukrainian children that they are trying to protect, then I think every single one of those people and every bit of that decision will have been the most obscene moment in all of Hollywood history.”
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