Sean Penn Says ‘Spirit’ of #MeToo Movement ‘Is to Divide Men and Women’ (Video)

“The First” star spars with “Today” show’s Natalie Morales

Last Updated: September 17, 2018 @ 8:18 AM

Sean Penn welcomed Natalie Morales of the “Today” show into his home to discuss new Hulu series, “The First,” but the interview became something very different when the topic of conversation shifted to the #MeToo movement.

“I’d like to think that none of it was influenced by what they call the movement of #MeToo,” Penn said of his new show’s plot, which in part centers on strong women leading a mission to Mars in 2030. “I think it’s influenced by the things that are developing in terms of the empowerment of women, acknowledging each other and being acknowledged by men. This is a movement that was largely shouldered by a receptacle of the salacious.”

“We don’t know what’s a fact. In many of the cases it’s salacious,” he explained to Morales when the NBC News host and journalist asked for clarification. “You call something a movement that is really a series of many individual accusers, victims, accusations, some of which are unfounded.”

“The spirit of much of what has been the #MeToo movement is to divide men and women,” Penn added.

“The women would say it’s united women,” Morales said.

“Women that I talk to — not in front of a camera — that I listen to, of all walks of life, that there’s a common sense that is not represented at all when in the discussion when it comes to the media discussion of it,” he responded.

Morales then asked the actor if he believes #MeToo has become too large.

“I don’t want it to be a trend, and I’m very suspicious of a movement that gets glommed onto in great stridency and rage — and without nuance,” he said. “Even when people try to discuss it in a nuanced way, the nuance itself is attacked.”

“In most things that are very important it’s really good to just slow down,” Penn concluded.

Watch the conversation below.

“The First,” an American-British drama created by Beau Willimon, starring Penn and Natascha McElhone, is currently available on Hulu.