Last year, Penn said that he would melt down his Oscars if the Academy didn't let Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speak at the ceremony following Russia's military invasion of the country. In an interview with Variety, he spoke about his comments again and made it clear how angry he is the Academy didn't let Zelenskyy speak.
“The Oscars producer thought, ‘Oh, he’s not light-hearted enough.’ Well, guess what you got instead? Will Smith!” he said. “I don’t know Will Smith. I met him once. He seemed very nice when I met him. He was so fucking good in King Richard. So why the fuck did you just spit on yourself and everybody else with this stupid fucking thing? Why did I go to fucking jail for what you just did? And you’re still sitting there? Why are you guys standing and applauding his worst moment as a person?”
He said the Academy's refusal to invite Zelenskyy to speak is "fucking bullshit," and if he did speak then "Will Smith would never have left that chair to part of stupid violence." After the moment and the Academy not wanting to get the Ukrainian President to address the audience, he realized he wanted to destroy his Oscars. “I thought, well, fuck, you know? I’ll give them to Ukraine," he shared. "They can be melted down to bullets they can shoot at the Russians.”
Penn, who admitted he thought about "taking up arms against Russia" last year, has faced criticism for his comments regarding Smith's slap, which the King Richard actor has since profusely apologized for. Especially because of Penn's own history with violence. In 1987, Penn spent 33 days behind bars after he punched a man.
He allegedly struck his ex-wife Madonna multiple times throughout their marriage, although the singer later suggested these allegations were "completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false."
Still, Penn's ability to somehow use Will Smith's infamous Oscar moment to that of the war in Ukraine is almost impressive. Almost.