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Sean Penn Explodes in Cannes: ‘The Whole F—ing World Abandoned Haiti’

Sean Penn, political activist and movie star, says Haiti finally has chance to reestablish itself after earthquake and decades of political turmoil

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Sean Penn accused the media of abandoning Haiti on Friday during a news conference for a benefit for the impoverished country.

"It's not only celebrities who went for a day," he said to a room full of journalists at the Cannes film festival, when asked about his long-term commitment to the country. "It's the whole fucking world. It's all of you." 

He added, "The reason we have Haiti fatigue is because there was never a commitment in the first place."

The activist-actor, who spends much of his time in Haiti, said the country finally had a chance to reestablish itself after decades of turmoil. He said that because of the commitment among young people there, "You see the very tangible success story that Haiti can be."

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Haiti recently elected a new president, Michel Joseph Martelly, and Penn called on President Obama to meet with him. "It's time our elegant and formidable president stood side by side" with the new president in Haiti, he said.

Penn was at a news  conference with Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova  and film director Paul Haggis, each of whom have non-profit organizations working in Haiti. They are joining forces with the Cannes Film Festival at a benefit for Haiti on Friday night. 

For his part, Haggis hailed Penn as an "honest to God hero" for using his celebrity to address suffering in Haiti. 

The Cannes Festival announced just last week that they would officially support a fundraiser forsean penn cannes Haiti during the festival, an unusual event since it is not related to any film.

The Carnival in Cannes will be a star-studded event, with Ben Stiller, Gerard Butler, David Schwimmer, Hayley Atwell, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jason Clarke expected to attend.

Festival director Thierry Fremaux offered to support Sean Penn’s Haitian Relief Organization, Paul Haggis’ Artists for Peace and Justice and Petra Nemcova’s Happy Heart’s Fund.

An incongruously glamourous set of sponsors include designer Giorgio Armani and the jewelry house Chopard.