Leo Penn, the father of famous actor Sean Penn, was hauled before the House Committee on Un-American Activities during the 1950s and harassed, spied upon and ultimately blacklisted for his political views (he attended a pro-union meeting called to support other black- listees.)
He refused to accuse others, and lost his livelihood for a period of time, but went on to direct many TV shows including Star Trek, The Law and Mr. Jones, and I Spy.
Now Carrie Prejean, beauty queen and determined supporter of marriage between a man and a woman, finds herself smeared on the Internet, castigated in public, on TV, (Chelsea Handler on E! channel has taken aim with a vicious gleam in her vodka-stoked eyes) and her parents have been dragged through the mud as well.
So where are the free-speech warriors? How about Sean Penn and the rest of the Hollywood elitists who think the First Amendment was written solely for their benefit? Penn has made millions playing everything from a stoner in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” to gay Supervisor Harvey Milk, who was slain in a horrific attack in San Francisco that also resulted in the death of San Francisco mayor George Moscone.
Penn, who played Harvey Milk in the film “Milk,” for which he won an Oscar, is probably too biased to see that the Founding Fathers weren’t just thinking of him and his high-brow leftists when they stood for freedom of expression for EVERYBODY.
Yes, that means Penn has the right to demand California have a special holiday for Harvey Milk, no matter how silly that is. The First Amendment also allows the outrageous burning of the American flag - or at least that’s how the courts have interpreted the First Amendment, so we have to live with it for now.
Guess what, Sean. Because you have the right to rant and rave about your radical agenda, Ms. Prejean also gets to use words that are so offensive to you and Perez Hilton, whose mouth is filthier than a latrine in a high school locker room.
These leftists have gone so far as to compare Prejean, a beautiful and thoughtful Christian, to a Nazi. They have divulged that she had breast implants just prior to the pageant. So-called mainstream journalists have even gotten on the beat-Prejean-to-a-bloody-pulp bandwagon.
Her sin: Hilton asked her about gay marriage and she answered truthfully. She faced the loss of her crown and has faced unrelenting attacks from thoughtless, cruel and vile people.
Sean Penn and his ilk should stand up to those who are piling on with their high-tech lynching campaign of Ms. Prejean. Perhaps Penn has forgotten about the blacklisting of his own father because of his beliefs.
I do wonder what Daddy Penn would say… I suspect he would not be pleased.
Originally published on May 12, 2009, in Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood blog.