Jonathan Van Ness Says Sean Penn Is “Suffering From Toxic Masculinity”


Jonathan Van Ness pushed back against Sean Penn‘s idea of masculinity, explaining to him that his recent statements were not only “ignorant” and “transphobic,” but “devoid of intelligence.”

Penn spoke to UK news outlet The i last month and brought up the topic of gender. “I am in the club that believes that men in American culture have become wildly feminized,” he said. He added in a second interview with The Independent last week, “I think that men have, in my view, become quite feminized.” The actor went on to explain, “I have these very strong women in my life who do not take masculinity as a sign of oppression toward them. There are a lot of, I think, cowardly genes that lead to people surrendering their jeans and putting on a skirt.”

Penn’s statements sparked outrage online, including from the Queer Eye star. On Twitter Wednesday, Van Ness posted a screenshot from the Daily Mail in which their photo was used to illustrate Penn’s claims. “First of all Im non binary,” the beauty expert wrote. “Second, @SeanPenn your remarks are ignorant, transphobic, and devoid of intelligence. My cowardly genes have more strength, resolve, and beauty than you could understand. Sean is suffering from toxic masculinity & needs to watch Getting Curious.” Getting Curious is the TV personality’s new Netflix show in which they interview experts on various topics, including gender and gender-nonconformity.

Van Ness wasn’t the only star upset by Penn’s latest quotes. Thandiwe Newton also expressed her disbelief and the actor’s claims, tweeting out a Variety story on the topic and tagging the actor with a string of laughing emojis. She wrote, “Dude what are you SAY-ING?? Like for REAL? You’re a jibbering FOOL. MF you used to be sexy but now you’re just tragic.” Penn also said all of this during an interview for his movie Flag Day which he stars in alongside his daughter, Dylan Penn. That detail prompted Newton to add in a second tweet, “In front of your DAUGHTER!? That poor little mite. Thank God her Mum’s so dope.”

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